CFO SINK APPLAUDS 14-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE HANDED DOWN IN
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FRAUD CASE|
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink applauded a 14-year sentence
handed down Wednesday against Thomas Daniel King, former owner and operator
of a now-defunct professional employee organization, Miralink Group Inc.,
which left thousands of workers in Florida and several states without
workers’ compensation coverage despite collecting more than $5.8 million in
premiums. One woman, facing mounting medical bills, lost her home and horse
farm to foreclosure and was found living in her truck behind a convenience
store while King was driving a Mercedes.
“Floridians suffered greatly because of greed, and we are determined to hold
everyone involved accountable,” said CFO Sink, who oversees the Department
of Financial Services.
King is one of seven individuals charged or convicted in the $217 million,
nationwide scheme in an ongoing joint investigation by the Department of
Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF), the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI), and the United States Attorney's Office. In addition,
the department’s Division of Workers’ Compensation, Division of Consumer
Services and Division of Agent and Agency Services played key roles in the
investigation, and the Office of Insurance Regulation also assisted.
In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia
Hernandez-Covington ordered King to serve three years of supervised
probation upon his release from prison and to hand over $250,000 in cash and
a Hummer. King, 44, was convicted in September on 23 federal counts of wire
fraud, mail fraud and money laundering stemming from his role in the
nationwide scheme. Miralink, formerly headquartered in Jacksonville,
represented to clients that its 33,000 employees were covered by Regency
Insurance of the West Indies, Ltd., located in Capistrano Beach, Calif. The
investigation revealed Miralink knew there was no real coverage.
The joint investigation began in 2002 after the department’s Division of
Workers’ Compensation issued a stop-work order against Miralink for failure
to secure workers’ compensation insurance. DIF Detective Tommy Clark
determined that Miralink was using Regency, an unauthorized entity, and as
the investigation broadened, evidence mounted that various employee leasing
organizations knowingly bought Regency’s bogus policies and knowingly put
workers at risk.
Indictments unsealed last month named Jerry M. Brewer, 56, Capistrano Beach,
Calif., currently residing in England; Donald E. Touchet, 53, El Cajon,
Calif.; Dr. Richard E. Standridge, 58, Tempe, Ariz., Robert J. Jennings, 59,
Danville, Ill.; and Joshua Poole, 33, Atlanta, Ga. Three of the men are
facing 215 years or more in prison if convicted on the counts against them.
Also last month, Michael Lee McCafferty, the former chief executive officer
of TTC Illinois, was sentenced to 33 months in prison and was ordered to pay
$7 million in restitution for his part in the scheme. Before filing for
bankruptcy in 2001, TTC was one of the nation's largest employee leasing
organizations with headquarters in Kankakee, Ill., branches in Tampa and
Boca Raton, and clients in 40 states.
After Detective Clark began to realize the scope of the alleged scam, he
sought assistance from FBI Special Agent Doug Matthews and United States
Attorney Mark Devereaux. Clark and Matthews conducted interviews of suspects
in Arizona, Illinois, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Carolina in relation to
the Florida victims.
Further arrests are anticipated.