Fresno business owner to pay millions in restitution for workers' compensation premium fraud
News: 2013 Press Release
FRESNO, Calif. - Richard Lopez Escamilla Jr. 47, was sentenced in Kings County Superior Court on December 4, 2013 to one felony count of insurance fraud and was ordered to pay restitution of nearly $4.2 million to SCIF, SeaBright Insurance and Employment Development Division. Escamilla was also sentenced to serve six years in prison for defrauding two insurance companies by underreporting employee payroll and unemployment insurance tax evasion.
"This is a win for California consumers, insurers and taxpayers," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "This case isn't just about one crook who stole from two insurance companies, business owners across the state end up paying the real price for workers' compensation fraud through higher premiums and those costs are passed to consumers."
In a joint investigation with the King's County district attorney's office and the Employment Development Department, investigators uncovered evidence that Escamilla, owner of ROC Harvesting, a farm labor contracting company allegedly misrepresented previous claim information to his insurer in order to illegally reduce his workers' compensation premium. Additionally, Escamilla underreported his employee payroll to further reduce his premium costs.
- Richard Escamilla Jr. operated businesses under several names including ROC Harvesting, EC Labor, EC Labor Inc., and ES Labor. Escamilla plead guilty as part of a plea deal on October 29, 2013.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $257 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.