Tarnished Golden Rule

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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.

 

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.