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South Florida Roofing Company Owner Charged with Fraud for Misclassifying Employees, Avoiding $1 Million in Premiums

5/16/2002

TALLAHASSEE - Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher and Statewide Prosecutor Melanie Ann Hines announced today that the owner of a Palm Beach County roofing company has been charged with fraud for allegedly misclassifying employees on his payroll to avoid more than $1 million in workers' compensation premiums.

Thomas R. Torok, 53, of Lake Worth, owner and president of Cedar Shake Supply, Inc. and Regency Roofing, located at 5081 Lantana Road in Lantana, is charged with workers' compensation fraud and organized fraud. Torok surrendered today to Department of Insurance fraud investigators in West Palm Beach and was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. Bond was set at $100,000, and he faces up to 35 years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine. The Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the case.

"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."

Torok is accused of misclassifying his employees' duties to three different insurance companies by claiming that roofers were supply dealers, reducing the premiums by more than $1 million from 1997 until 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.