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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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.