LOUISIANA CONTRACTOR CHARGED WITH FAILING TO HAVE WORKERS’ COMP FOR OUT-OF-STATE WORKERS
A Louisiana contractor is facing felony charges for failing to obtain workers’ compensation insurance for workers he brought into the state to rebuild hurricane-damaged roofs in Central Florida.
Todd Woods, 37, owner of A-1 Construction and Roofing, was arrested Monday by investigators with the Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud. He is charged with failure to obtain Florida workers’ compensation insurance, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and presenting false information as evidence of compliance, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Woods was booked into the Osceola County Jail and released on $1,500 bail. The Osceola County State Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the charges.
“When workers show up to perform a job, they deserve to be protected in case they get injured,” said Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the department. “Employers who don’t protect their workers will be held accountable.”
Woods had coverage with the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation (LWCC), but the policy clearly states that the coverage does not cover work performed outside of Louisiana. Investigators found that Woods had obtained numerous permits from the Osceola County Building Department and St. Clouds Building Department for roofing jobs.
In October 2004, Don Schmidt, owner of Schmidt Contracting and Roofing in St. Cloud, subcontracted with A-1 to repair hurricane-damaged roofs in Poinciana, and Schmidt requested proof of workers’ compensation insurance. Woods provided the LWCC certificate. When Schmidt‘s insurance company attempted to verify the coverage with the agent in Louisiana, they were informed that the policy did not cover work in Florida.
The Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, investigates various forms of fraud in insurance, including health, life, auto, property and workers' compensation insurance. Anyone with information about this case or another possible fraud scheme should call the department's Fraud Busters Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 may be offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.