Investigation leads to conviction of business owner for insurance fraud
News: 2013 Press Release
VISALIA, Calif. - Douglas Lambert, 48, of West Hills and owner of Lambert Air Conditioning was convicted of committing workers' compensation insurance premium fraud for failing to properly report employee payroll to the insurance carrier. Lambert was ordered to pay more than $110,300 in restitution to Clarendon National and the State of California.
In response to a complaint in February 2010, the Department of Insurance in a joint effort with the Tulare County District Attorney's Office began an investigation into Lambert. Lambert, a licensed air conditioning contractor operating in Tulare County, did not report any employee payroll to Clarendon National Insurance Company causing his business to pay at a lower premium. The investigation uncovered evidence Lambert failed to properly report employee payroll to the carrier from 2006 to 2009.
"Fraud is a multi-million dollar enterprise, which costs consumers over $210 million annually," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "Lambert cheated both Clarendon National and the State of California out of over $110,000, and by doing so passed the cost of his fraud onto consumers across the state. Through a collaborative effort between my department and the Tulare District Attorney's Office, we have brought another bad actor to justice."
Lambert reported no employee payroll to them for the first three quarters of 2006 yet the business reported more than $8,800 in wages to the Employment Development Department during this same time period. Further investigation revealed Lambert reported an employee injury to Clarendon National as a workers' compensation claim although he was reporting no employee wages to them.
Douglas Lambert pled guilty to one count of insurance fraud.
On 6/19/13 Lambert was sentenced in the Tulare County Superior Court. Lambert was order to serve 29 days in the Los Angeles County Jail, given three years probation, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $110,381.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $259 billion in premiums annually in California. In 2014 the California Department of Insurance received more than 175,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $54 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.