Marin County husband and wife sentenced in insurance fraud case totaling nearly $1 million
News: 2022 Press Release
NOVATO, Calif. — Carmen Hall Soruco, 70, and her husband Antonio Soruco, 75, both of Novato, were sentenced last week after pleading guilty to workers’ compensation fraud charges. Hall was sentenced on multiple felony counts to two years of probation with full search and seizure, 120 days in jail, and ordered to pay over $925,000 in restitution to State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) and Employment Development Department (EDD). Soruco was sentenced to one year of probation with full search and seizure, 120 days in jail, and was also ordered to pay over $925,000 in restitution to SCIF and EDD after pleading guilty to multiple misdemeanor charges.
"Fraud hurts us all. When business owners cheat insurance companies and fail to carry workers compensation insurance, they put their employees at risk and honest business owners end up footing the bill through higher premiums,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “Our insurance fraud team did an excellent job partnering with the Marin County District Attorney’s Office in investigating and prosecuting this case. This serves as a reminder that white-collar crimes have consequences and perpetrators will be punished to the full extent of the law.”
“The Marin County District Attorney's Office will continue to partner with the California Department of Insurance to identify, investigate, and prosecute businesses who engage in workers' compensation premium fraud in order to gain an unfair advantage in their industry,” said Deputy District Attorney Sean Kensinger. “In this case, the insurance fraud was compounded by the defendants' failure to report almost $3.5 million in payroll to EDD. We are glad to see that they took responsibility early in the proceedings and can now begin repaying the significant loss to both State Compensation Insurance Fund as well as the State of California.”
The Department of Insurance began an investigation into Soruco Structures, a general contractor company, after a worker filed a Workers’ Compensation claim alleging to be injured on a job site while working. The business had not reported employees or payroll on their Workers’ Compensation policy until the claim was filed. Although Soruco Structures was licensed as a sole proprietorship under Carmen Hall Soruco, Antonio Soruco, Hall’s husband, also operated the business.
The investigation revealed Hall and Soruco committed Workers’ Compensation insurance premium fraud by failing to report employees and payroll to SCIF from October 15, 2013 through December 8, 2016. The investigation further revealed unreported payroll to SCIF, leading to a premium loss of approximately $585,666. Investigators also discovered Hall and Soruco committed payroll tax evasion by failing to report employees and payroll to California’s EDD from October 15, 2013 through February 6, 2019 which resulted in a payroll tax loss to EDD of approximately $342,405.
This case was prosecuted by the Marin County District Attorney’s Office.
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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.