Modesto business owner sentenced for workers’ comp fraud
News: 2019 Press Release
MODESTO, Calif. — Michael Zendejas, 47, of Turlock, was sentenced to 180 hours of community service, three years formal probation and ordered to pay $944,718 in restitution after pleading no contest to insurance fraud for underreporting payroll by approximately $4.9 million that resulted in a $944,718 loss to his insurer.
Zendejas, as the owner and president of Trinity Personnel Inc., an employment agency that provides temporary workers, obtained a workers’ compensation policy from State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) in September 2014 through December 2016. SCIF performed an audit of the policy and found that Zendejas significantly underreported the company’s payroll by $4.9 million and number of employees in order to receive a lower workers’ compensation insurance premium.
The joint investigation with the California Department of Insurance and the Amador County Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit found Zendejas provided SCIF with fraudulent Employment Development Department and payroll documents resulting in the $944,718 loss in insurance premiums to his insurer.
“Businesses that illegally underreport payroll and employees create a competitive advantage that places honest businesses at risk,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “This joint investigation with Amador County levels the playing field, so honest employers have a chance to stay competitive and in the marketplace.”
On November 22, 2019, Zendejas pleaded no contest to insurance fraud. The case was prosecuted by the Amador County District Attorney’s Office.
To report insurance fraud contact the Department of Insurance’s Fraud Hotline at (916) 854-5700.
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Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.