March 3 2016
Burlington Business Owner Indicted After Allegedly Avoiding Paying $120K in Insurance Premiums
A Wilmington man who owns a business in Burlington has been indicted in connection with allegedly failing to accurately report the nature of his company’s work in order to avoid $120,000 in insurance premiums, Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Thursday.
Robert Foss, age 54, of Wilmington, was indicted by a Suffolk Grand Jury on charges of Workers’ Compensation Fraud (four counts).
He will be arraigned on March 21 in Suffolk Superior Court and on March 22 in Middlesex Superior Court.
According to a release from the attorney general’s office, authorities allege that between 2009 and 2012, Foss defrauded two insurance companies under three separate insurance policies by describing his Burlington business as a general contractor, when in reality, it was a roofing company. The Workers’ Compensation Ratings and Inspection Bureau (WCRIB) classifies roofing as a more dangerous occupation than general carpentry and places a higher premium on insurance.
“We allege that this defendant intentionally put the safety of his employees at risk by asking them to inaccurately disclose the nature of his business to insurance companies in order to avoid paying premiums,” said AG Healey. “Our office is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who engage in this type of fraud for their own benefit.”
The Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts (IFB) referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office in May 2013 after an investigation into allegations that the company was committing insurance fraud, the release states.
“Businesses that misrepresent their payrolls and type of business to lower their workers’ compensation premiums put honest businesses at a disadvantage, and are not providing proper coverage for their employees,” said IFB Executive Director Daniel Johnston. “The Insurance Fraud Bureau pursues these cases so that there can be a fair playing field for all businesses in the Commonwealth.”
WCRIB establishes different categories of insurance policy costs depending on the risk of injury associated with different types of jobs, and insurers apply those categories to a company’s payroll to calculate workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
According to authorities, Foss also inaccurately described the nature of his business on an application for insurance through the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Assigned Risk Pool in 2011.
As a result of these alleged schemes, Foss put his insurance companies and his workers at risk by failing to cover injuries that could have occurred because of roofing work and in the process evaded paying $120,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums, the AG’s release says.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Wood, of AG Healey’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Unit, with assistance from Senior Investigator Philip Mantyla, also of AG Healey’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Unit, Victim Witness Advocate Megan Murphy, of AG Healey’s Victim Witness Services Division, and the Insurance Fraud Bureau.a