Bakersfield husband and wife charged for underreporting over $4 million in employee payroll
News: 2023 Press Release
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Brian Hill, 64, and Leslie Hill, 68, a husband and wife from Bakersfield, have been charged with multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and conspiracy after a Department of Insurance investigation found the couple underreported over $4 million in employee payroll for the construction company they owned.
The Department began an investigation into Brian Hill Construction, Inc., owned by the Hills, after receiving information that the company paid an employee with a combination of check and cash, and that the cash pay was not reported to the company’s workers’ compensation carrier.
Between July 2017 and October 2019 Brian Hill Construction Inc. held a workers’ compensation insurance policy through State Compensation Insurance Fund and between October 2019 and October 2020 held a workers’ compensation insurance policy through Benchmark Insurance.
An investigation into Brian Hill Construction, Inc., revealed the company reported approximately $135,667 in employee payroll between July 2017 and October 2019 to State Compensation Insurance Fund. However, an audit by the Department revealed the business actually had over $3.6 million in employee payroll for the same time period.
The investigation also revealed Brian Hill Construction, Inc. reported approximately $9,140 in employee payroll between October 2019 and June 2020 to Benchmark Insurance, but an additional Department audit revealed the company actually had over $500,000 in employee payroll for the same time period.
Over the course of three years, Brian and Leslie Hill failed to report over $4,025,250 in employee payroll to their insurance carriers. The hiding of employee payroll resulted in the illegal reduction of workers’ compensation insurance premiums paid and $2,542,365 in premium owed to the insurance companies.
The investigation also discovered one employee of Brian Hill Construction Inc. was injured on the job and sent to a local hospital where they received minimal medical treatment. By law the employer was required to file a workers’ compensation claim, but the Hills circumvented the workers’ compensation process by paying the medical facility directly and eliminating benefits the injured worker may have been entitled to.
The Department of Insurance is committed to protecting employees from this type of mistreatment and urges anyone who believes they may have been denied workers’ compensation benefits following an injury to contact the Department for help.
Brian Hill was arraigned yesterday and Leslie Hill is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, July 27, 2023. The Kern County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.
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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.