Workers’ Compensation Fraudster Convicted in Florida

Jun 24, 2011

The following article was published in Property Casualty 360º on June 24, 2011:

Workers comp fraudster convicted in Florida

By Joan E. Collier

David Rodriguez Socarras has been convicted in a Florida court in connection with an elaborate workers’ compensation fraud scheme. The man appeared before the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court on June 20 and pled guilty to five charges, including application fraud and workers’ compensation fraud, for running a shell company to pay undocumented workers and avoiding workers’ compensation premiums.

An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance Fraud, revealed that in October 2007 Socarras used a fraudulent Social Security card and birth certificate to obtain an ID card with the alias Harry Marrero Vasquez. He then established a shell company with the name HMV Construction in order to obtain a minimal workers’ compensation policy.

With the insurance policy in hand, Socarras cashed 80 checks at a Jacksonville, Fla., check cashing store for a total of more than $2.9 million. The cash was used to pay groups of undocumented workers, and by using the shell company, Socarras avoided paying the necessary workers’ compensation premiums and taxes needed for a payroll of that size. Socarras was sentenced to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $400,000 in restitution.

Florida has long been aggressive on all types of insurance fraud. Investigators have arrested 529 fraudsters since the start of this year, including 147 workers’ compensation fraud arrests. The state maintains a website and hotline (800-378-0445) where individuals can anonymously provide information and be eligible for a reward of up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme. The department to date has awarded almost $250,000 to approximately 40 citizens as part of the Anti-Fraud Reward Program.

The website displays photos and information on the “Most Wanted” insurance fraud culprits. It currently features:

  • Rodolfo Nicholson—In April 2007, Nicholson filed a homeowners’ insurance claim for damage to his property in Belleview, Fla. He submitted false documents to his insurance company in support of his claim. Additionally, the insurance company learned that Nicholson was using the property as rental property despite representing it as his residence and obtaining coverage on that basis.
  • Christina Ann Wilcher—Wilcher has been a fugitive since October 2001 for misrepresentation on a workers’ compensation claim in which she continued to receive workers’ compensation disability checks while exaggerating her injuries. Wilcher received a total of $2,243.44 in workers’ compensation disability checks and is wanted for a third degree felony. Her aliases include Christina Ann Gonzales and Christina Pratt.
  • Rosa Bajdor—An unlicensed insurance agent, Bajdor issued as many as 200 fictitious policies, leaving consumers who thought they had insurance coverage vulnerable to financial loss. Bajdor was arrested in July 2005 by the Division of Insurance Fraud but failed to appear for her court date. A warrant was issued for her arrest; she remains at large. Her aliases include Rosa Rodguez and Rosa Maria Fernandez.
  • Ruddy J. Antenor—Antenor organized five staged motor vehicle crashes in a scheme to defraud insurance companies through filing fraudulent personal injury protection claims totaling more than $50,000. He is wanted for scheme to defraud, grand theft, counts of false and fraudulent insurance claim (intentional motor vehicle crash), and five counts of false fraudulent insurance claims.
  • Arlan Roche—Between Oct. 30, 2001, and continuing through Feb. 14, 2002, Roche, a bail bonds agent, collected premiums totaling $3,600 for 27 Powers of Attorney totaling $120,000. The premiums were required by law to be paid to the Managed General Agent so that he could remit them to Seneca Insurance. Roche never remitted the premiums, and an arrest warrant for grand theft in the third degree was issued. Roche fled and remains at large.
  • Lloyd Wicks—Wicks is accused of making false statements on his accident disability/accident medical expense insurance application concerning prior sickness and injuries. After obtaining coverage, he submitted altered hospital bills to the insurance company to collect $3,534.91. His aliases include Christopher Ray Corbetts, Bob Melendez, and Lewis Sher.

CFO Jeff Atwater also says the state is looking for Ricardo Temix. Temix committed workers’ compensation fraud by providing a fraudulent Social Security number as proof of identification for the purpose of obtaining employment and obtaining workers’ compensation benefits. Temix received more than $12,500 in fraudulent benefits and medical expenses by using the Social Security number of a deceased victim.

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