MA: Owner of Staffing Agency Charged in Connection With Workers’ Comp Fraud
Woburn, MA (WorkersCompensation.com) - The owner of a Lowell-based temporary labor staffing agency has been indicted on charges of workers' compensation fraud in connection with failing to disclose to the agency's insurance provider the true size of its payroll, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Sophea Choeng, age 35, of Lowell, was the owner of SPL Temp Agency. He was
indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on Workers' Compensation Fraud (2 counts) and Larceny Over $250 (2 counts). He will be arraigned on the charges in Middlesex Superior Court on July 22.
The AG's Office began an investigation after this was referred by the state's Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB). The AG's Office alleges that between 2013 and 2015, SPL Temp Agency vastly under-reported its payroll in insurance company audits in order to reduce the insurance premiums it would be charged for workers' compensation insurance. In the 2013-2014 policy period, SPL reported $850,221 in payroll, when in fact, according to investigators, its payroll was over $5.3 million. Similarly, in the 2014-2015 policy period, SPL reported $551,591 in payroll, while according to investigators, the agency had a payroll of over $2 million.
The AG's Office alleges that as a result of under-reporting its payroll, SPL evaded at least $141,194 in workers' compensation premiums.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
AG Healey's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Unit works to protect consumers and the integrity of the insurance system by investigating and prosecuting those who commit fraud against all types of insurers, including the state's unemployment insurance and workers' compensation systems.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Joshua Pakstis with assistance from Loreny Bernabe, both of AG Healey's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Unit, and investigators at the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
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