On December 6th, 2013

Workers’ Comp Fraud - Fresno Business Owner Sentenced to Prison Ordered to pay $4.2 Million is Restitution

FRESNO - Richard Lopez Escamilla Jr. 47, was sentenced in Kings County Superior Court on December 4, 2013 to six years in prison for one felony count of insurance fraud.  He was  also  ordered to pay restitution of nearly $4.2 million to the State Compensation Insurance Fund and SeaBright Insurance.

As part of a plea deal, Escamilla plead guilty to defrauding two insurance companies by underreporting employee payroll and unemployment insurance tax evasion.

In a joint investigation with the King's County district attorney's office and the California Employment Development Department, investigators uncovered evidence that Escamilla, owner of ROC Harvesting, a farm labor contracting company allegedly misrepresented previous claim information to his insurer in order to illegally reduce his workers' compensation premium. Additionally, Escamilla underreported his employee payroll to further reduce his premium costs.

"State investigators have proven time and again they will uncover unscrupulous business owners who cheat for their own financial gain," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA).  CSLEA represents nearly 7,000 law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work for the State of California.  "When someone steals from insurance companies this way, we all pay."

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