Miami Businessman Arrested for Orchestrating $400,000 Workers’ Comp Scam
Contact: Ashley Carr
MIAMI, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS) today announced the recent arrest of Elso J. Macias, owner of Puertos Enterprises Inc. in Miami. Macias allegedly orchestrated a fraud scheme by providing false and misleading information during his application for workers’ compensation insurance and by grossly underreporting the company’s total payroll amount. As a result, Macias illegally avoided more than $400,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums, leaving his employees at risk of covering health and lost wage costs associated with on-the-job injuries.
In November 2015, Macias applied for and obtained a workers’ compensation insurance policy for his company, Puertos Enterprises Inc., claiming that he employed only three people with a combined annual payroll of just over $3,500. However, during a four month period, DIFS investigators discovered that Macias cashed more than $3 million in payroll, millions more than he claimed on his policy paperwork.
In an effort to illegally conceal his company’s payroll to avoid paying proper workers’ compensation premiums, Macias cashed payroll checks at a variety of private, local check-cashing stores in Miami-Dade County.
Macias was arrested and transported to Miami-Dade County jail. He has been charged with three first-degree felonies including workers’ compensation fraud, grand theft, and organized scheme to defraud. If convicted on all counts, Macias faces up at 90 years in prison.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, 11th Judicial Circuit.
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Effective July 1, 2016, the Department’s Division of Insurance Fraud became the newly-established Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. This new division combines the Department’s Division of Insurance Fraud, Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, and the Office of Fiscal Integrity into one highly-specialized law enforcement unit focused on fighting financial fraud, waste and abuse in the State of Florida. Follow the Department’s activities on Facebook (FLDFS) and on Twitter (@FLDFS).