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Staffing agency chief arrested over fake comp policies

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The owner of a Florida staffing firm has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $1 million from clients who thought he was providing workers compensation and payroll services, the state's Department of Financial Services said.

Ivan Hernandez, the owner of Professional Staffing and Payroll Services, formerly Global Staffing Services L.L.C., in Ft. Myers, Florida, was arrested earlier this month and transported to Lee County Jail for alleged fraudulent conduct, the department said in a Friday statement.

Claiming to provide workers comp insurance and payroll services to clients, Mr. Hernandez allegedly provided false policies and pocketed about $1,035,662, according to an investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services' Bureau of Insurance Fraud and the Division of Workers' Compensation's Bureau of Compliance.

The investigation also found that Mr. Hernandez obtained a workers comp policy for his Global Staffing Services company in August 2013, covering two employees and an estimated $51,000 payroll. He apparently said the firm was a “staffing company that provided employee recruiting services for various companies, but (it) would not directly hire or offer any long-term or short-term staffing services,” the statement says.

Though Mr. Hernandez changed the name of the firm to Professional Staffing and Payroll Services in March 2015, he continued to carry the aforementioned workers comp policy, according to the statement. By directly providing clients with staffing and payroll services, as well as workers comp coverage, he violated the underwriting requirements established in the policy.

According to the statement, fraudulent certificates of insurance were issued to about 58 companies with more than 300 total employees.

Mr. Hernandez could face more than 25 years in prison if he's convicted.