California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund has received $566,480 in restitution from a Marin County roofing company owner convicted of workers’ compensation fraud. Kenneth Scott Cooper, 51, of San Rafael, made full restitution to State Fund after pleading guilty on Nov. 1, 2005, to three felony charges: worker’s compensation insurance premium fraud; furnishing a false payroll deduction statement and filing a false tax return.
An 18-month multi-agency state investigation found that Cooper, a licensed general contractor, failed to accurately report employee payroll at Ken Cooper Roofing and Gutter Systems of Marin County from 1999 to 2003. Participating in the investigation were State Fund, the California Department of Insurance (CDI), the Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the Employment Development Department (EDD) and the Marin County District Attorney’s Office.
The fraud was originally uncovered when one of Cooper’s employees fell off a roof. The injured worker filed a workers’ compensation claim and revealed that Cooper’s company had been paying him in cash approximately 50 percent of the time, which led to the lower temporary-disability payment.
A multi-agency audit was conducted of Cooper business records which revealed that Cooper underreported and misreported employee payroll to lower his insurance premiums. Specifically, Cooper’s scheme involved paying more than 50 percent of his payroll in cash in order to underreport his total employee payroll; reporting inflated hourly wages for some employees and, not identifying some of his employee payroll as “roofer wages” to avoid roofer-related premiums which are greater than premiums for other, lower-risk occupations.
State Fund investigators referred the case to the Marin County District Attorney’s Office which filed charges against Cooper on May 10, 2005.
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