Californian Held in State Workers’ Compensation Fund $1.4 Million Fraud

The California Department of Insurance has announced that Joseph Baiden, 56, of Diamond Bar, surrendered yesterday morning to the Los Angeles Superior Court pursuant to an arrest warrant issued for eight counts of workers’ compensation insurance premium fraud against State Fund. Baiden is being held on $1.64 million bail.

“It appears that Baiden was living a lavish lifestyle due to ill-gotten gains,” said Department of Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. “But through the work of our investigation and the efforts of our partners, the walls supporting his fraudulent schemes have come crashing down on him.”

The arrest came as the result of an investigation by the California Department of Insurance (CDI). Along with the arrest, CDI froze Baiden’s bank accounts and seized numerous properties throughout the Los Angeles area estimated at $4 million. His primary residence was located in an exclusive, gated hilltop neighborhood in Diamond Bar. Four of the seized properties are located in Diamond Bar as well; the fifth property is in Pomona.

The case is being prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Each count is a felony and, if convicted on all counts, Baiden faces a maximum of 40 years in prison as well as $3.2 million in fines.

In September 2008, CDI received a referral from State Fund alleging that Baiden, doing business as Nurse Connection, Inc., was underreporting his workers’ compensation payroll on the quarterly payroll reports. According to the referral, State Fund received an anonymous tip that Baiden had falsified payroll records as well as California and federal tax filings for the years 2001-07. It is alleged that Baiden misrepresented $20 million in Nurse Connection’s payroll to conceal the actual risk to the insurance carrier, thereby illegally reducing his workers’ compensation insurance premiums. State Fund’s estimated loss over this seven-year period is approximately $1.4 million.

Based on the investigation, additional charges may be filed at a later date, according to officials.