Two San Ramon residents have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit insurance premium fraud and other related felonies on Tuesday after the pair was caught evading more than $2 million dollars in insurance premiums.
According to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office, 57-years-old Selina Singh and 30-years-old Kabir Singh, both of San Ramon, were caught fraudulently misrepresenting employee construction payroll to insurance carriers in order to lower their insurance rates.
The Singhs also admitted an aggravated white collar crime enhancement for a loss exceeding $500,000 through "a pattern of criminal activity," according to DA officials.
"Workers compensation coverage to protect employees from injury is mandatory in the State of California. Premium fraud creates unfair competition in dangerous industries, as law-abiding business owners are outbid by competitors that unlawfully evade the cost of coverage at the expense of their workers," DA officials said in a statement.
"Such fraud can also result in harm to public if it exposes the person or entity hiring the contractor to liability for the injury, or even to the unsuspecting employees themselves, as an injured worker may encounter a claim denial or delay in obtaining coverage for needed medical care if the employer’s false reporting of company operations causes the insurance company to question and investigate the employee’s claim of injury," they added.
The pair were outed for their fraudulent activities after an employee severed their thumb while on a construction site -- for the family's construction company Bara Infoware, Inc. -- and Selina Singh directed them to lie about the injury. According to the DA, Selina Singh told the injured employee to lie and say the injury occurred while working for the family's other company, Federal Solutions Group.
The injured employee responded by reporting the incident to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, who then launched an investigation and determined that this was not the first incident falsely reported by the Singhs.
In addition to the employee injured on Bara Infoware, Inc. job site, investigators were also able to locate an injured employee that reported that Kabir Singh likewise asked them to not to report their injury and offered to pay their medical expenses instead of reporting the injury to company’s insurance. That employee was asked to report their injury through the Monterey-based Eagle Solutions, which was "used first to move money between Bara Infoware, Inc. and Federal Solutions Group, and then eventually directly to obtain workers compensation policies for non-construction payroll while running construction jobsites," Contra Costa DA officials said.
Investigators determined that the Singhs obtained government contracts, including construction contracts that require compliance with workers compensation laws, putting in lower bids by misrepresenting the construction payroll to insurance carriers in less dangerous industries operated by the family -- such as clerical and consulting -- in order to lower their insurance rates.
"An audit by a forensic accountant at the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office concluded that the scheme evaded over $2 million dollars of insurance premiums that law abiding competitors would have had to pay in seven years, in addition to over $200,000 of evaded payroll tax owed to the State of California," Contra Costa DA officials said.
Kabir and Selina Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, insurance premium fraud, and a white collar crime enhancement, which carry a maximum sentence of eleven years and eight months.
Selina also pleaded guilty to payroll tax fraud which on its own does not increase the maximum sentencing possibility.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 1:30 p.m. and will be carried out by the Contra Costa County Superior Court.
Residents with information about possible insurance fraud can report that information to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office via email at DA-ReportFraud@contracostada.org.