“California business owners who underreport employee payroll, not only put their employees at risk, they can often afford to produce bids much lower than law abiding companies that compete with them for contracts. CDI employs investigators and detectives to identify those who are breaking the law by fraudulent means such as underreporting.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
BAKERSFIELD– On July 26, 2023, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) announced that Brian Hill, 64, and Leslie Hill, 68, a husband and wife from Bakersfield, have been charged with multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and conspiracy after an investigation found the couple underreported more than $4 million in employee payroll for the construction company they owned.
CDI began an investigation into Brian Hill Construction, Inc., owned by the Hills, after receiving information that the company paid an employee with a combination of check and cash, and that the cash pay was not reported to the company’s workers’ compensation carrier.
Between July 2017 and October 2019 Brian Hill Construction Inc. held a workers’ compensation insurance policy through State Compensation Insurance Fund and between October 2019 and October 2020 held a workers’ compensation insurance policy through Benchmark Insurance.
The investigation revealed the company reported approximately $135,667 in employee payroll between July 2017 and October 2019 to the State Compensation Insurance Fund. However, an audit by the CDI revealed the business actually had more than $3.6 million in employee payroll for the same time period.
The investigation also revealed Brian Hill Construction, Inc. reported approximately $9,140 in employee payroll between October 2019 and June 2020 to Benchmark Insurance, but an additional Department audit revealed the company actually had over $500,000 in employee payroll for the same time period.
Over the course of three years, Brian and Leslie Hill allegedly failed to report over $4,025,250 in employee payroll to their insurance carriers. The hiding of employee payroll resulted in the illegal reduction of workers’ compensation insurance premiums paid and $2,542,365 in premium owed to the insurance companies.
The investigation also discovered one employee of Brian Hill Construction Inc. was injured on the job and sent to a local hospital where the employee received minimal medical treatment. By law, the employer was required to file a workers’ compensation claim, but the Hills allegedly circumvented the workers’ compensation process by paying the medical facility directly and eliminating benefits the injured worker may have been entitled to.
Brian Hill was arraigned July 25, 2023 and Leslie Hill is scheduled to be arraigned on July 27, 2023. The Kern County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.