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Construction Company Owner, Financial Officer Charged with Workers’ Compensation Premium Fraud


TALLAHASSEE – Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher and Statewide Prosecutor Melanie Ann Hines announced today that the owner of two Miami construction companies and his chief financial officer have been arrested on felony fraud charges for allegedly hiding payroll to avoid more than $830,000 in workers' compensation premiums.

Jacques Evens Thermilius, 42, owner of Urban Organization, Inc., and Urban Constructors, Inc., located at 3800 N.W. 22nd Ave., and Brian Hankerson, 41, CFO for both companies, are charged with organized scheme to defraud and workers' compensation fraud. Thermilius surrendered this morning, and Hankerson surrendered Friday afternoon to Department of Insurance fraud investigators in Miami. Bond was set at $15,000 each.

Thermilius and Hankerson each face up to 30 years in prison and a $15,000 fine on the organized scheme charge, and up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine on the workers' compensation fraud charge. 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."

Thermilius and Hankerson are accused of using a payroll company to hide their companies' true payroll records from Zenith Insurance Company. The two men allegedly understated the payrolls by $3.4 million to avoid additional premiums of more than $830,000 from 1995 until 1998.

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.