Monroe Employer Arrested in Louisiana Workers’ Comp Crackdown

The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) announced a third arrest this month as part of the the agency’s statewide crackdown on employers who are alleged to have committed workers’ compensation fraud.

Agents with the Louisiana Insurance Task Force arrested Neal Angrum, owner of Water Works Cleaning Service in Monroe, on charges of insurance certificate forgery.

The task force that made the arrests is a joint effort of LWC, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Department of Insurance and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.

Angrum is accused of altering an expired certificate of insurance to make it appear that his company was covered by a workers’ compensation policy in order to maintain his service contract with the State of Louisiana.

State contractors are required to have a workers’ compensation policy in effect to qualify for work. Authorities began investigating Angrum after receiving information that his company’s workers’ compensation coverage had been cancelled on Oct. 3, 2007, due to non-payment.

The arrest follows the Sept. 10 arrest of Mauro and Keren Aguirre of Lafayette, owners of Escapade Acoustic Drywall, on charges of felony theft and workers’ compensation premium fraud totaling an estimated $1.2 million in unpaid insurance premiums.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has been working throughout the year investigating suspected employer and employee fraud. Through the second quarter of 2009, nearly 1,600 investigations had been completed by the LWC Office of Workers’ Compensation Fraud and Compliance Units, with 13 referred to the AG’s office for possible prosecution. More than 10 arrests have been made so far this year.

“All employers doing business in Louisiana are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Businesses that are not covering their employees are shortchanging those employees and driving up costs for other businesses,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “This is an important step in creating a level playing field for all businesses to compete fairly.”

Employers who fail to comply can be fined up to $250 per employee per incident. Continued non-compliance can result in larger fines, an injunction from doing business in the state or possible jail time.

Source: Louisiana Workforce Commission