California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund has received restitution of $599,817 from the owner of a San Diego framing company convicted of workers’ compensation insurance fraud. Robert H. Rodriguez, 50, of El Cajon, Calif., the owner of RH General Inc. and JBD Staffing Inc. made full restitution to State Fund after pleading guilty to insurance premium fraud.
Rodriguez was also sentenced to three years formal probation and ordered to perform 125 hours of community service. His wife and co-owner, Sandra Rodriquez, 49, of Alpine, Calif., and his office manager Christa Hellgren, 52, of San Diego, all pleaded guilty to one count of Insurance Code 11880 (a) Premium Fraud and one count of Unemployment Insurance Code 2117.5 Tax Evasion.
The Spring Valley framing contractor — whose business State Fund insured from 2001 to 2003 — falsified hourly wages of employees to qualify for a lower insurance premium. Rodriguez reported payroll for low-wage employees under a classification used for high-wage employees, resulting in a lower premium rate. In addition, he failed to report almost $500,000 in wages, bonuses and payments to unlicensed contractors, also lowering his premium rate.
The fraud was first discovered through a routine State Fund audit. A search warrant was subsequently issued by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office and during a search of the premises, evidence of fraud was obtained.
Rodriguez also paid the state Employment Development Department restitution of $132,531. Sandra Rodriguez and Christa Hellgren were also each sentenced to three years summary probation.
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