Hiding the Truth

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File with focus on the text Disability Insurance and blur effect. Concept of individual protection.

There are many reasons why people tend to hide the truth. Carmen Hall Soruco, 70, and her husband Antonio Soruco, 75, both of Novato, Calif., hid the truth about their workers compensation fraud scheme because they wanted to avoid being punished and be rewarded with something that was not otherwise obtainable, lower workers compensation premiums in this case. (Unfortunately, they were unable to avoid being punished and they must pay back those premiums they neglected to pay in the first place.)

The couple ran into trouble when an employee of their company, Soruco Structures, filed a workers’ compensation claim following an injury at a job site. The California Department of Insurance began an investigation into the company and discovered that the business had not reported employees or payroll on their Workers’ Compensation policy until the claim was filed. (Keep in mind that the number of employees and the payroll amount helps to determine the amount of the workers’ compensation premium. The bigger the payroll, the bigger the premium.)

Soruco Structures did not report their employees or payroll between October 2013 and December 2016. This led to an approximate workers’ compensation premium loss of $585,666. The couple also committed payroll tax evasion when they neglected to report their employees and payroll to California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) from October 2013 through February 2019, costing the EDD approximately $342,405.

When businesses fail to accurately report their payroll and number of employees, this gives them an unfair advantage in their industry. They can charge lower rates to customers and win more business. (Companies that are honest can’t compete with those lower prices because they are paying higher premiums and taking care of their employees.)

Carmen Hall Soruco, 70, and her husband Antonio Soruco, 75, pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud. Carmen Hall Soruco was sentenced to two years of probation with full search and seizure, 120 days in jail, and ordered to pay more than $925,000 in restitution to State Compensation Insurance Fund and EDD. Her husband, Antonio, was sentenced to one year of probation with full search and seizure, 120 days in jail, and was also ordered to pay more than $925,000 in restitution to SCIF and EDD. (Lesson learned? It always pays to tell the truth. There was so much pain that could have been avoided.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “California Couple Sentenced in $1M Workers’ Comp Fraud Case,” published by Insurance Journal on March 7, 2022.

Carmen Hall Soruco, 70, and her husband Antonio Soruco, 75, both of Novato, California, were sentenced after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud charges.

Hall was sentenced on multiple felony counts to two years of probation with full search and seizure, 120 days in jail, and ordered to pay more than $925,000 in restitution to State Compensation Insurance Fund and Employment Development Department.

 

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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.