Building a Case Against Construction Fraud

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High Angle View Of A Person With Fractured Hand Filling Health Insurance Form

California’s State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) was created to provide fairly-priced workers’ compensation insurance for entrepreneurs, make the workplace safe, and restore injured workers. (Today’s fraudsters must have thought the agency’s mission was solely to increase the size of their bank accounts.)

Brother and sister Enrique Vera, 51, and Gloria Vera, 60, of Tarzana, Calif., committed workers’ compensation fraud when they collected $6 million after submitting falsified workers’ compensation documents to California’s SCIF. The siblings conspired to submit altered payroll records so they could pay a lower premium for workers’ compensation insurance. (This creates an unfair advantage. Honest business owners have to charge higher prices to cover their costs, while these fraudsters could undercut their competitors and win more business.)

As the construction company’s office manager, Gloria Vera failed to disclose and concealed employees’ on-the-job injuries that entitled them to receive workers’ compensation benefits. (She robbed her brother’s construction company employees of critical benefits they deserved.)  The company also underpaid employees while working on a UCLA housing renovation project. (Does that surprise you? These two could not have cared less about their employees.)

Prosecutors built a strong case against the Veras, who were eventually ordered to pay more than $6 million in restitution for committing workers’ compensation fraud and labor theft. Each sibling was sentenced to one year of probation and one year of electronic monitoring for committing workers compensation fraud in addition to each serving 500 hours of community service. (They have already completed their community service hours, which was the easy part. Paying back the $6 million they stole may be a different story.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Tarzana siblings ordered to pay $6 million in restitution in workers comp fraud and labor theft case,” published by Los Angeles Daily News on October 6, 2021.

LOS ANGELES — A brother and sister from Tarzana were ordered Wednesday to pay more than $6 million in restitution to the State Compensation Insurance Fund in connection with what authorities called a workers’ compensation fraud and labor theft scheme involving the brother’s construction company.

Enrique Vera, 51, and Gloria Vera, 60, were also sentenced to one year on probation, and each had already completed 500 hours of community service and one year of electronic monitoring as part of the plea agreement, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.