NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development is taking new measures to ensure employers in the construction industry are protecting workers who are injured on the job or need unemployment benefits.
“The contractor hired to demolish the building at 2136-38 Market St. in Philadelphia has a criminal record stemming from a phony car-wreck scheme with a Philadelphia police officer, according to court records.
And his demolition work next to a Salvation Army thrift shop worried neighbors, workers and others in the days before Wednesday’s fatal collapse, because an adjoining wall was left unsupported.
The demolition was being done by Griffin Campbell Construction of 1605 Butler St. That North Philadelphia address is also the residence of Griffin T. Campbell, 49, who could not be reached for comment.
Campbell has city permits to demolish six other properties, including three Market Street properties owned by STB Investments Corp., the owner of the collapsed building. The principal of STB is Richard Basciano, owner of many seedy properties and once dubbed “the undisputed king of Times Square porn.
According to court records, Campbell filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in March, listing $221,000 in liabilities, including $10,000 in unpaid city business taxes and delinquent state and federal taxes, as well as numerous bank liens on properties he owns in North Philadelphia.
Campbell pleaded guilty in April 2009 to having filed a false insurance claim, claiming to be a passenger in a car involved in a 2005 auto collision that was actually a hoax to defraud an insurance company.
After filing the false claim, Campbell was paid $17,500 by Cambridge Insurance Co., plus $5,856 for medical bills. The scam unraveled when a Philadelphia officer, Deshane Riggins, admitted preparing “numerous fictitious accident reports” and identified Campbell’s as one of them.
Police described the case as one of at least 45 phony auto accidents staged by Wallace “Pops” Morris of Kingsessing, the ringleader of the scam. Riggins, the officer who made the scam possible, was paid $400 to $500 for each false report corroborating an accident. He was fired in 2008 after pleading guilty to 19 counts of insurance fraud.”
A Glens Falls man has been arrested for allegedly presenting false insurance certificates to a Queensbury contractor.
Nicholas J. Degregory, 47, of Harrison Ave. was charged after an investigation into a report from the New York State Insurance Fund. New York State law requires sub contractors provide proof of workers compensation insurance on building projects in New YorkState.
Degregory was charged with fifth degree insurance fraud, a misdemeanor; and two felony counts of second degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.
The complaints against Degregory allege that he presented forged insurance certificates on Jan. 15, 2011 and again on Jan. 3, 2012 to a general contractor in Queensbury. The investigation found that when the contractor attempted to validate the certificates, he was advised that Degregory’s insurance had been cancelled in 2009. As a result the general contractor was required to pay a premium of $1,010 to the New York State Insurance Fund for workers compensation coverage.”
“The president of a former Trenton construction company pleaded guilty today to stealing more than $450,000 by cheating its workers compensation carrier, failing to file tax returns and underreporting wages for his business and himself.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend Garcia-Merlos be sentenced to eight years in state prison. The state is also seeking $451,142 in restitution, the office said.
“By providing misinformation to his workers’ compensation carrier, he not only failed in this responsibility but also defrauded an insurance company out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi said in a statement.”
“Centeno-Hernandez was arrested at 10:20 a.m. by agents with the Florida Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud at 119 Neptune Drive in Holmes Beach.
Centeno-Hernandez allegedly used a Social Security number and permanent resident card on April 8 to procure employment with Beach to Bay Construction, 5702 Marina Drive, the report states.
Scott Eason, owner of Beach to Bay, said in an email that Centeno-Hernandez was employed by S Torres Construction, a subcontractor doing work for the Holmes Beach construction company.
In July, the Department of Homeland Security notified DFS/DIF that at least 18 individuals may have used false identification to be hired by the Holmes Beach company.
Further investigation into Centeno-Hernandez revealed the Social Security number was assigned to another individual and the permanent residence card number was invalid, according to the report.
Eason said Beach to Bay “obtained the required documentation” from the subcontractor employing Centeno-Hernandez and were unaware the identifications were false.”
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“California contractors were sickened by the news in the recent California Department of Insurance (CDI) announcement on the arrest of the unscrupulous owners of A & F Engineering who allegedly committed insurance fraud and denied insurance benefits to an employee’s family. As announced by Commissioner Dave Jones, A & F Engineering’s employee, Jose Villanueva, was killed in a work-related accident. As a consequence of owners Allan and Carolina Pacheco’s failure to pay less than $12,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums, Villanueva’s wife and three children will receive no death benefits, which would have been “approximately $650,000 plus burial benefits.” If convicted of the charges, the owners face time in state prison and as much as $710,000 in fines and reparation.
“We appreciate CDI’s efforts in catching swindlers like these business owners. It is truly unfortunate that a family has to suffer this way and be denied what is rightfully theirs,” said Northern California Electrical Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust Executive Director Andre Gardner. “Too often, legitimate trade contractors lose work to corrupt contractors who underbid jobs and cheat their workers, making it difficult to compete on a fair and level playing field.”
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“Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Nasir Craig Dukes, 31, of306 Terra Verde Drive #342, Raleigh; he was charged with one count of insurance fraud.
The North Carolina Department of Insurance was contacted by the owners of Raleigh-based GM&M Contracting who alleged that Dukes, a local property investor, manipulated their company’s documentation so that he could file a fraudulent insurance claim. Upon investigation, Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that Dukes used a GM&M spreadsheet to submit a fraudulent invoice to Erie Insurance Companyfor work at 8332 La Matisse Road, Raleigh, when GM&M did not perform construction work at that address.”
A Westbury contractor has been charged with forging insurance documents that falsely stated that his business had liability and workers’ compensation coverage.
Michael Ribarich, 41, was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Prosecutors said that in May 2010, Ribarich’s company, Advantage Remodeling, Inc., was hired as a subcontractor to perform carpentry work at a Head of the Harbor home inSuffolkCounty. Ribarich presented the lead contractor, who hired his company, with a falsified Accord certificate that stated that he had workers’ compensation and liability insurance.
A July 2011 premium audit of the lead contractor by the New York State Insurance Fund, and subsequent investigation by the Fund’s Fraud Bureau and the DA’s Office, revealed that Ribarich’s Accord certificate was a forgery and that he has never had an insurance policy with the New York State Insurance Fund. In fact, the policy number that Ribarich used on his forged statement belonged to a painting company whose policy was cancelled in August 2009, prosecutors said.”
“Thomas Herink was sentenced in Omaha’s U.S. District Court. In addition to prison, Herink was given three years of supervised probation following his release and ordered to repay $5,111,026.91 to his victims.
Herink was president and chief executive officer of Golf Services Group Inc., a construction company, according to U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg, who says Herink falsified financial statements to defraud lenders and insurers.
Herink carried out the scheme in order to participate in large construction contracts throughout the country, according to Gilg. Prosecutors say when Herink defaulted on some of the projects, the banks and insurance companies lost more than $8 million.”
“An April 23 press release issued by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced the owners of Hallmark Roofing of Belmont, were arrested on 29 felony accounts for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance fraud, including failure to report employee wages. After investigations and a forensic audit by the California Department of Insurance, owners John and Camille Applegate were found to have inaccurately reported their employees’ wages, thereby failing to pay nearly $630,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums over a five-year period. The Applegates’ also neglected to report employees’ wages and pay taxes on those wages to the Employment Development Department (EDD) between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2012, even though they deducted the wages from their employees. If convicted, John and Camille Applegate each could face up to five years in state prison and payments in excess of $1 million.
“The pursuit and arrest of Hallmark Roofing’s owners reinforces the goal of ethical contractors to eliminate the underground economy and level the playing field.”