Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and the Florida Department of Financial Services announced Friday the arrest of 50-year-old Carlos Contreras, owner of DJC Builders & Construction located in Jacksonville, Florida.
According to charges, Contreras underreported the number of people he employed, the annual company payroll, and the company's scope of work on an application for a workers' comp policy.
Based on the fraudulent information submitted on the application, which stated DJC Builders' reported annual payroll was $273,786, Contreras was quoted an annual workers comp insurance policy premium of $25,311 - well under the $1,217,161 annual premium he would have been charged had the information on the application been correct.
The scheme came to light between January and August of this year when state investigators noticed Contreras had cashed at least 620 DJC Builders & Construction payroll checks at various locations around the state, totaling almost $6,500,000.
“When companies lie to obtain cheaper, inadequate workers’ compensation policies, staff or property owners are left vulnerable to covering sky-high medical costs if a worker gets injured on the job, and free markets are disrupted by scammers who can underbid their legitimate competitors,” Patronis said. “It’s a lose-lose situation for Florida, and I won’t stand for it.”
While Contreras saved $1 million in the short term, after being arrested and detained at the Duval County Jail charged with one count of knowingly concealing payroll and one count of scheme to defraud, the owner of DJC Builders & Construction is now facing up to 60 years in prison if convicted.