Florida Workmans Comp Fraud Case
The president of a Florida construction company has been arrested on charges of falsifying payroll information to reduce his workers’ compensation premiums.
Randall Morton Seltzer, the president of Navarre Industries Inc. in Santa Rosa County, was charged with multiple felonies, including workers’ compensation fraud and grand theft. The arrest came after an investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud.
The investigation revealed that Seltzer under-reported the actual number of people on his company’s payroll to his workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
He also allegedly established a shell corporation to violate stop-work orders and illegally operate his construction business.
Seltzer, a resident of Gulf Breeze, Florida, faces up to 30 years in prison and could be required to pay up to $2.8 million in restitution.
Employers in Florida are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage if they are in an industry, other than construction, that has four or more full-time or part-time employees. An employer in the construction industry with one or more employees (including the employer) is also required to carry coverage. Farmers with more than five regular employees and/or 12 or more seasonal workers (for seasonal labor lasting 30 days or more) must carry workers’ compensation insurance. State and local government employers are also required to be covered by workers’ comp.
An employee can check whether an employer is covered by contacting the Florida Employee Assistant and Ombudsman Office at 800-342-1741.
Once an employee covered by workers’ compensation is injured at work or becomes aware of a work-related injury or illness, that person has 30 days in which to report the injury or illness to the employer.
Generally, an injured or ill worker has two years from the date of the injury or illness to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, a failure to notify the employer within 30 days, as above, may bar such a claim.
Workplace injuries can be caused by lifting heavy objects or reaching for items overhead, slipping, tripping, falling, colliding with heavy equipment, being hit by falling objects, and many other causes. Repetitive work, such as typing or operating machinery, can cause injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Work-related illnesses can include rashes, asthma, emphysema and other types of lung damage, poisoning, hearing loss, and cancer. Mental health and stress-related injuries can be caused or worsened by workplace conditions.
Compensation can include temporary disability benefits (TBD) – typically 70% of the worker’s average weekly wage before the injury. If an injury is permanent, then a lump-sum benefit may be paid.
Although you’re not required to have an attorney in order to seek workers’ compensation benefits, an experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney can help you through the process.
If you or a family member suffered a workplace injury, or to learn more about workers’ compensation claims in Florida, see: the Workers Compensation section of our website.