Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Massachusetts Business Owner Indicted on Workers’ Comp Fraud Charges

Authorities said a Wilmington, Massachusetts man has been indicted in connection with allegedly failing to accurately report the nature of his company’s work in order to avoid $120,000 in insurance premiums.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Robert Foss was indicted Thursday by a Suffolk County Grand Jury on charges of workers’ compensation fraud (four counts).
Authorities allege that between 2009 and 2012, Foss defrauded two insurance companies under three separate insurance policies by describing his Burlington, Massachusetts, business as a general contractor, when in reality, it was a roofing company.

The Workers’ Compensation Ratings and Inspection Bureau (WCRIB) classifies roofing as a more dangerous occupation than general carpentry and places a higher premium on insurance.
“We allege that this defendant intentionally put the safety of his employees at risk by asking them to inaccurately disclose the nature of his business to insurance companies in order to avoid paying premiums,” Healey said.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts (IFB) referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office in 2013 after an investigation into allegations that the company was committing insurance fraud.

“Businesses that misrepresent their payrolls and type of business to lower their workers’ compensation premiums put honest businesses at a disadvantage, and are not providing proper coverage for their employees,” said IFB Executive Director Daniel Johnston. “The Insurance Fraud Bureau pursues these cases so that there can be a fair playing field for all businesses in the Commonwealth.”

WCRIB establishes different categories of insurance policy costs depending on the risk of injury associated with different types of jobs, and insurers apply those categories to a company’s payroll to calculate workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

According to authorities, Foss also inaccurately described the nature of his business on an application for insurance through the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Assigned Risk Pool in 2011.
Authorities said that as a result of these alleged schemes, Foss put his insurers and his workers at risk by failing to cover injuries that could have occurred because of roofing work and in the process evaded paying $120,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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