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Roofing Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Fraud for Evading $1 Million in Insurance Premiums

12/10/2002

LAKE WORTH-Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher announced today that the owner of South Florida based Cedar Shakes Supply, Inc. and Regency Roofing has pleaded guilty to organized fraud and workers' compensation fraud.

Thomas R. Torok, 54, of Lake Worth, was sentenced today by Polk County Circuit Judge Ralph Artiliere to 10 years probation and was ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution to three insurance carriers for unpaid insurance premiums. The Office of Statewide Prosecution prosecuted the charges.

"Business owners who cheat on workers' compensation premiums drive up the costs and make it harder for other businesses to afford the coverage they need to protect their employees," Gallagher said. "This type of fraud creates an uneven playing field for legitimate businesses."

Investigators with the department's Division of Insurance Fraud found that Torok, whose business headquarters are located at 5081 Lantana Road in Lantana, had misclassified his employees' duties at his roofing business to three different insurance companies. Torok claimed that roofers were supply dealers, and this misclassification resulted in a miscalculation of premiums by more than $1 million from 1997 until earlier this year.

Torok's companies have more than 30 employees and perform roofing jobs throughout South and Central Florida.

The Department of Insurance, 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 Hotline at 1-800-378-0445. A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information leading to a conviction.