JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and the Department of Financial Services announced Friday the arrest of 50-year-old Carlos Contreras, owner of DJC Builders & Construction.
Contreras allegedly obtained a fraudulent workers’ compensation policy by underreporting the number of staff he employed, the company’s annual payroll amount and the company’s scope of work. By providing false information on the application, Contreras illegally avoided paying more than $1,000,000 in premium payments for an adequate policy.
“When companies lie to obtain cheaper, inadequate workers’ compensation policies, staff or property owners are left vulnerable to covering sky-high medical costs if a worker gets injured on the job, and free markets are disrupted by scammers who can underbid their legitimate competitors,” Patronis said. “It’s a lose-lose situation for Florida, and I won’t stand for it.”
Contreras claimed his company’s annual payroll was $273,786, and thus was quoted an annual workers’ compensation policy premium of $25,311. However, between January and August 2017, DFS investigators determined that Contreras cashed at least 620 payroll checks for DJC Builders & Construction. In total, nearly $6,500,000 in payroll was cashed using various money service businesses located across the state. If Contreras had accurately reported the company’s total payroll, number of employees and correct work description, the company’s proper workers’ compensation premium would have been $1,217,161.
As a result of the scam, Contreras’ insurance company was defrauded of more than $1,000,000.
Contreras was arrested on Oct. 19 and taken to the Duval County jail. He was charged with one count of knowingly concealing payroll and one count of scheme to defraud.
The case will be prosecuted by the Duval County State Attorney’s Office and if convicted, Contreras could face up to 60 years in prison.