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California father, son sentenced in $400,000 comp fraud scheme

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A father and son in Salinas, California, pleaded guilty to four felony counts for their role in a $400,000 insurance fraud scheme that denied workers compensation insurance and medical care for injured workers, the California insurance commissioner’s office announced Monday.

Jaime Rosario Del Real, 61, and his son Israel Del Real, 37, were sentenced to 250 days in jail and 10 years felony probation, and ordered to pay $382,951 in restitution in a case prosecuted by the Monterey County District Attorney's Office, the commissioner’s office said in a statement.

Doing business as Del Real Produce and Packing and Del Real Packing L.L.C., the Del Reals worked as farm labor contractors providing laborers for picking and packing lettuce for growers in Monterey County, California, and Yuma, Arizona. After receiving a tip from an insurer, California Department of Insurance detectives found the Del Reals had concealed injuries their workers sustained and refused to pay for medical treatment or provide other benefits the injured workers were entitled to.

The investigation also revealed that for five years, the Del Reals lied more than 20 times in order to obtain reduced insurance premiums, according to the insurance commissioner’s office. As part of their premium theft, the Del Reals kept two sets of Employment Development Division forms, with different employees and a different number of employees listed, which allowed the Del Reals to evade paying payroll taxes, according to investigators. 

“Business owners are responsible for the safety and care of their employees,” Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said in a statement. “Employers who fail to carry workers compensation insurance or pay for the medical care for injured workers violate the law and put their employees at risk.”

Officials with Del Real Produce and Packing and Del Real Packing could not be reached for comment.