Tarnished Golden Rule

Architect is posing on construction site. She is happy. Two coworkers are in the back.

With Southern California home to some of the nation’s priciest real estate, it seems that construction companies could make a handsome profit without stooping to fraud. But evidently a Simi Valley contractor wanted lower workers compensation insurance premiums—so he just defrauded the State Compensation Insurance fund of more than $151,000.

James Wood, the owner of Wood Construction Company, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony insurance fraud on April 8, 2021. Wood admitted to lying about his total payroll and number of employees between 2015 and 2017. (The company’s website states, “Our goal is to treat every customer like we would want to be treated.” I guess the golden rule doesn’t extend to taxpayers, though.) 

At the time of his hearing, Wood had repaid in full the $151,891 he “saved” through fraud. (The company site notes that the firm’s projects include “million dollar additions and remodels”.) 

It doesn’t sound like he was a struggling businessman. But cash wasn’t the only benefit of his scheme. The District Attorney’s office noted that “Perpetrators of premium fraud also obtain an unfair competitive advantage over law-abiding businesses because their costs are much lower than the competitors.” (Here’s hoping that a number of his clients prefer not to work with felons. That should even up the scales of justice.) 

Let’s hope that when Wood is sentenced, he’ll get more than just a slap on the wrist.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Simi Valley Acorn article, “Simi Valley man found guilty of workers’ compensation insurance fraud,” dated Aril 16, 2021.

A Simi Valley contractor accused of multiple counts of workers’ compensation insurance fraud has repaid more than $150,000 in restitution to the state and is now awaiting his sentencing next month.

James Wood, the 49-year-old owner of Wood Construction Company, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony insurance fraud April 8, according to Ventura County court records. A special allegation of fraud offenses was found to be true.



Previous articleThis Little Piggy Goes to Prison
Next articleScam on Aisle 2

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.