California Contractors Congratulate CDI Fraud Division and San Joaquin Valley Premium Fraud Task Force
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC), along with multiple construction associations, welcomed Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’ announcement late last week that two more unscrupulous contractors, a father and daughter out of Kern County, have been convicted of felony counts for violating California’s Insurance Code and Unemployment Insurance Code. Both Jerry Buffington, owner and President of Safehome, Inc., and Cynthia Russell, Chief Financial Officer for the business, pled guilty to one count of workers’ compensation insurance premium fraud and multiple counts of tax evasion. According to the California Department of Insurance’s (CDI) release, both individuals “were ordered to pay restitution to the State Compensation Insurance Fund and have been ordered to serve 10 years of probation.” CDI’s Fraud Division led the investigation with the San Joaquin Valley Premium Fraud Task Force.
CALPASC has coordinated a construction enforcement coalition of contractor associations, unions and other organizations interested in cleaning up the underground economy in construction.
Executive directors from CALPASC, the Union Roofing Contractors Association (URCA), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Greater Sacramento Chapter (NARI-Sacramento) and Painting and Decorating Contractors of California, Inc. (P&DCC) stated:
“This represents another case being busted wide open in which a parent led an adult child into criminal behavior. Reprehensible cases like this have been found throughout the state, including Southern California, the Bay Area and now Central California,” said Brad Diede, CALPASC Executive Director.
“The work of many state enforcement agencies, CDI’s Fraud Division and the Task Force reinforces our message that there is no place to hide. Dishonest trade contractors need to get on board and get honest quick or get caught and be put out of business,” said Ronald Johnston, URCA Executive Director.
“One trade serving as an imposter for another trade to minimize and cheat on payroll to keep workers’ compensation costs at a minimum is a disgrace. Homeowners, builders, general contractors and awarding authorities need to be on alert – they could be liable for hiring these crooked contractors,” said NARI-Sacramento Executive Director Brenda Kress.
“As Coalition members, we are energized to see investigators from multiple agencies working with one another to remain hot on the trail of serial violators. The coalition of district attorney offices from Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Merced counties, in conjunction with CDI’s Fraud Division, the Employment Development Department’s Investigation Division and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, continues to show how agencies coordinating effectively can catch cheating contractors,” said P&DCC Executive Director Clifford Burg.
SOURCE California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC)