On January 20, 2014 the San Diego County District Attorney announced charges against the owners of four businesses and several employees for their alleged roles in various types of insurance fraud including workers compensation fraud, unemployment fraud and tax evasion.
Owners of A1 Patio and Remodeling Experts in Encinitas, Christina Engineering in Escondido, Quality Way Building Maintenance in National City and Rufino’s Landscaping of Escondido were all indicted by a grand jury in December for their alleged roles in bilking insurance companies and the state tax board out of $1.5 million. In addition, 10 employees of Christina Engineering were indicted for their alleged roles in receiving unemployment benefits at the same time they were being paid cash to work, which they were allegedly encouraged to do by their employer.
Among those indicted:
- Russ E. Kubart of A1 Patio and Remodeling Experts. When an employee of Kubart’s injured himself after falling from a deck at a jobsite, Kubart told the employee to tell medical staff he injured himself at home because Kubart did not have workers’ compensation insurance. Loss to known victims is $160,000.
- Ten employees of Christina Engineering were indicted for their roles in receiving unemployment benefits at the same time they were being paid cash to work, which they were encouraged to do by their employer. Loss to known victims is $350,000.
- Marcos Castaneda, of Quality Way Building Maintenance was indicted on four counts of felony insurance fraud for his role in intentionally lying about his payroll in order to receive reduced workers compensation premiums. Loss to known victims is $133,921.
- Rufino Aguiluz and his wife, Maria Foulk of Rufino’s Landscaping, were indicted on several counts of insurance fraud, payroll tax evasion and income tax evasion for their roles in failing to report payroll to various workers’ compensation insurance carriers and tax collectors. Loss to known victims is $952,202.
Among the departments that investigated this case were the San Diego District Attorney's Office, California Department of Insurance, Franchise Tax Board and Employment Development Department.
"Our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who work as investigators for the Department of Insurance, Franchise Tax Board and Employment Development Department are dedicated professionals who investigate, and help to convict people who commit these crimes and who put a major drain on our state's economy," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "The investigators work routinely and successfully with other state, local and federal agencies to put a stop to this type of fraud."