Jacksonville, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – A Florida contractor arrested in a $1 million workers’ compensation fraud scheme remains in custody after failing to post bond and filing for indigent status.
Authorities with Florida’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) arrested Carlos Contreras in October, charging him with workers’ compensation fraud after a months-long investigation. Authorities said Contreras claimed to only have $273,786 in annual payroll, but investigators discovered that Contreras had cashed more than $6.6 million in payroll checks from his company DJC Builders & Construction.
“We can only speak to the payroll we identified during the course of the eight-month investigation, which as the press release highlights was nearly $6,500,000,” said Jon Moore, Press Secretary for the Office of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis in an email interview with WorkersCompensation.com. “The exact dollar amount ended up being $6,699,839.44. I can confirm Carlos Contreras cashed the checks.”
According to DFS, Contreras’ underreporting of his payroll led to his workers’ compensation insurance premium totaling $25,311 instead of the $1.2 million it should have been if he had reported his payroll accurately.
“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 was arrested on Oct. 19 and charged with one count of knowingly concealing payroll and one count of scheme to defraud. The Duval County State Attorney’s office is prosecuting the case. If convicted, Contreras could face up to 60 years in prison.
Contreras was arrested on Oct. 19 and remained in jail until his arraignment on Nov. 9. Although the court declared him indigent and appointed to him a public defender, Contreras was able to hire attorneys Dale and Christopher Carson to represent him.
Contreras faces a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 30. According to Duval County Jail records, Contreras remains in custody having failed to post the $200,003 bail.
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