|For Immediate Release
Case # 12ZF0129
May 1, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
CONSTRUCTION BUSINESS OWNER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR UNDER-REPORTING OVER $3.5 MILLION IN PAYROLL TO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION INSURANCE CARRIER
SANTA ANA – A construction business owner will be arraigned tomorrow for under-reporting over $3.5 million in payroll to his workers’ compensation insurance carrier. George Osumi II, 64, Irvine, was indicted Feb. 10, 2012, on 18 felony counts of misrepresenting facts to State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), 14 felony counts of failing to file a return with intent to evade tax, 14 felony counts of willful failure to pay tax, 14 felony counts of willful failure to pay unemployment insurance and employment training tax, nine felony counts of willful failure to pay disability insurance deductions, one felony count of identity theft, and one felony count of perjury. He faces sentencing enhancement allegations for misrepresenting facts to SCIF, committing an aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage over $65,000, and committing a crime while released from custody on bail on another felony. If convicted, Osumi faces a sentence ranging from probation up to 63 years in state prison. Osumi is scheduled for continued arraignment on the indictment May 2, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
What is Premium Insurance Fraud and Why Does it Hurt the Economy?
California law requires that all employers maintain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Payroll records showing the number of employees and their income must be submitted to both the insurance company and the Employment Development Department (EDD), who oversee the audit and collection of payroll taxes and employment records for workers in California. Workers’ compensation Insurance rates are determined by a formula, which takes into consideration the factors above and the company’s loss history on claims.
Premium insurance fraud is committed when an employer intentionally misrepresents to the State or his/her insurance company the number of employees, the nature of work performed by certain employees, the amount of payroll, and the loss history. These illegal misrepresentations allow deceitful employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance at a significantly lower rate, or to avoid purchasing the insurance at all. This practice also places their competitors at a disadvantage because it forces them to compete against a company with lower operating costs.
This deceptive under or non-reporting, drives up the cost of insurance premiums for legitimate businesses, which pay higher rates for their employee’s workers’ compensation insurance. These legitimate businesses are less competitive against crooked companies who are able to under-bid their competitors due to lower business costs resulting from insurance fraud. This also endangers injured employees who may be denied the workers’ compensation insurance benefits intended to meet their physical, psychological, and financial needs for a work-related injury.