Florida court finds two men guilty of $7.2m workers’ comp insurance fraud

Two men have pleaded guilty to wire and tax fraud that resulted in the theft of an estimated $7.2m in a scheme involving construction work crews in Florida.

Dennis Barahona and Gregorio Fuentes-Zelaya are now being pursued by authorities for $5.7m in restitution for tax fraud and $1.4m in forfeiture from wire fraud.

The two made money by renting out workers’ compensation insurance policies through their shell companies, taking advantage of a Florida law that requires workers to have compensation insurance.

A press release from Florida’s district attorney’s office said Barahona and Fuentes-Zelaya rented the certificates to hundreds of work crews while falsely claiming that they worked for their companies.

Barahona has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud and Fuentes-Zelaya has pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and two counts of tax fraud

Each wire fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years and each tax fraud count carries a maximum penalty of five years.

Image: ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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