Riverside DA files fraud charges
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office announced that it charged three people with orchestrating a misclassification scheme that resulted in underpaying a half-million dollars in premiums to two insurance companies.
Prosecutors allege Joanne Trealoff, 61, misclassified between 15% and 20% of her 200 employees at Eclipse Recreational Vehicles Inc., a manufacturer of travel trailers and toy haulers located in Riverside. They also say that between 2012 and 2016, she failed to report at least 50 injuries. The scheme reportedly resulted in losses of more than $540,000 for Everest National Insurance Co. and Security National Insurance Co.
David Armando Torres, 63, the owner of workers’ compensation consulting firm Employer Support Group, is accused of helping misclassify some of the workers and hiding the injuries from carriers. Sylvia Leon, 44, an employee at Employer Support Group, is accused of participating in the scheme as well.
Trealoff pleaded not guilty to 52 felony counts during an initial appearance on Wednesday.
The District Attorney’s Office said that while arrest warrants have been issued for Torres and Leon, who each face 51 felony counts, neither have been taken into custody.
Unfortunately, this seems to be a recurring topic from many clients so here are the basic details about death benefits under CA law.
Death benefits are payments to a spouse, children or other dependents if an employee dies from a work-related injury or illness. This includes reasonable burial expenses, not exceeding $5,000 for injuries before Jan. 1, 2013 and $10,000 for injures on or after Jan. 1, 2013. The amount of the death benefit depends on the number of total and/or partial dependents. In the case of one or more totally dependent minors, after payment of amounts specified below, death benefits will continue until youngest minor's 18th birthday (disabled minors receive benefits for life). Death benefits are paid at the total temporary disability rate, but not less than $224.00 per week. The period within which to commence proceedings for the collection of death benefits is one year from death where death occurs within one year of date of injury (DOI); or one year from date of last furnishing of any benefits or one year from death where death occurs more than one year from DOI. No such proceedings may be commenced more than 240 weeks from the DOI.
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Case Law Update
In Davis v. State of California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, 2016 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 611, the WCAB held that a firefighter was not entitled to the presumption under LC 3212.85 for an alleged injury to his “nervous system and respiratory” occurring as a result of his exposure to fire retardant.
In Watkins v. Department of State Hospitals, Atascadero State Hospital, 2016 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 627, the WCAB held that an applicant’s claim was not barred by the statute of limitation under LC 5405 when the defendant failed to prove when it last provided benefits.
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