7 Arrested in $40 million Workers' Compensation Fraud Scheme
TAMPA BAY, FL – Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced on Monday that seven people had been arrested in a workers' compensation fraud bust.
A team of Florida investigators comprised of Homeland Security personnel, members of the Florida Attorney General’s Office and Florida’s Division of Investigative and Forensic Services say they discovered that more than $40 million in payroll had been concealed and not reported to the workers’ compensation insurance provider.
Patronis’ office wrote in a news release that "between August of 2018 and October 2021, the individuals used shell companies and money laundering efforts to avoid paying over $7 million in insurance premiums."
Few details were immediately released; however, investigators say they seized $218,000 in cash.
According to Attorney General Ashley Moody, “these defendants used elaborate money laundering tactics and shell corporations to conceal payroll information and avoid millions of dollars in insurance premiums. They thought they were getting away with their devious scheme, but state and federal law enforcement were already investigating their crimes."
“This elaborate scheme illustrates how far criminals are willing to go to avoid paying workers’ compensation premiums," Patronis added. "Workers’ Comp fraud creates a vulnerable situation for employees and leaves honest Florida businesses to foot the bill for higher insurance rates."
If convicted, the seven people arrested could face up to 30 years in prison.