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CFO Sink Announces Arrest of Escambia County Man for Insufficient Workers’ Comp Coverage

9/23/2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 23, 2009
CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Kevin Cate, (850) 413-2842
 
CFO SINK ANNOUNCES ARREST OF ESCAMBIA COUNTY MAN FOR INSUFFICIENT WORKERS’ COMP COVERAGE
 
ESCAMBIA COUNTY– Florida CFO Alex Sink today announced that her Division of Insurance Fraud has arrested an Escambia County man on charges of falsifying employment numbers with the intent of avoiding higher workers’ compensation premium payments. The arrest underscores CFO Sink’s work to toughen penalties and crack down on insurance fraud criminals, whose actions cost not just businesses but also everyday consumers who face higher premiums because of this kind of fraud.
 
Mauricio Soto, 33, of Mauricio Soto Concrete Construction Inc., has been charged with Workers’ Compensation Fraud, a first-degree felony. If convicted, Soto faces up to 30 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.
 
“Injured workers can face devastating medical bills and serious financial hardship if their employers aren’t properly covered,” said CFO Sink. “I commend our Insurance Fraud investigators for exposing this criminal activity, and will continue to enforce compliance to make sure that all Floridians are protected on the job.”
 
Following site inspections over the past year on job sites in Escambia and Santa Rosa County, it was discovered that 32 individuals worked for Mauricio Soto Construction Inc.; however, audits and state records revealed Mauricio Soto was reporting less. When tipped off to the inconsistent number of employees reported, investigators also discovered that Soto owed nearly $660,000 in premiums for workers’ comp coverage for the over $4 million he was paid in subcontracting fees in the past three years.
 
As Florida’s CFO, Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation, which conducted nearly 30,000 onsite investigations of worksites to determine employer compliance for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. The division also recently launched a new whistleblower web site, which makes it easier for citizens to submit complaints online about suspected non-compliance and provides real-time feedback to complainants. Examples of non-compliant workers’ compensation coverage include working without workers’ compensation, under-reporting payroll such as paying employees in cash instead of from checks from payroll, and misclassifying employees in order to receive a lower workers’ compensation rate.  For more information about CFO Sink’s Division of Workers Compensation or to submit a complaint, visit MyFloridaCFO.com.
 
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