Nine in Florida Arrested for Workers’ Compensation Fraud- Avante News Update

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Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Many of us need it, a lot of us have it, some of us don’t. Some may try to skirt the law in terms of safety, but many states, including Florida, are starting more and more to crack down on employers that put not only their employees, but also their customers in danger.

Investigators with the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) Division of Insurance Fraud and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) routinely monitor Internet sites such as Craigslist and Angie’s List in their efforts to combat unlicensed activity thoughout the state.

Recently, Nine men were busted in Florida for Worker’s Compensation Fraud and providing services without a contractor’s license. After learning that several businesses in the Manatee County area did not have adequate workers’ compensation coverage, the DFS and DBPR went undercover for two days. Agents arranged a meeting with alleged unlicensed contractors to obtain an estimate for construction work, only to confirm that the men failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance for employees.

So what exactly is unlicensed activity? It’s when an individual either performs or offers to perform services that require a state license and does not actually hold the required license. It’s important to work within the confines of the law because if convicted, you can face up to five years in prison for each workers’ compensation charge, as well an an additional year for a first time unlicensed contractor charge and five years if you’re a repeat offender.

As DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson states, “Unlicensed activity is against the law and threatens the livelihood of licensed professionals who have demonstrated knowledge of the profession and have met all of the requirements prescribed by law to possess a state of Florida license.” He notes that “consumers should be aware of the various risks associated with doing business with unlicensed individuals and should always verify an individual’s license through DBPR prior to hiring them.”

It’s essential that you protect yourself and your employees, by ensuring that you have adequate worker’s compensation. Florida law has specific requirements for obtaining a professional license, and those who have met these prerequisites are held to professional standards.

Consumers can verify professional licenses online at www.myfloridalicense.com. Additionally, Floridians should report any suspected unlicensed activity by emailing ULA@myfloridalicense.com or calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 1-866-532-1440.

If you have any questions about Workers’ Compensation Insurance or are interesting in receiving a free quote, call Avante Insurance today at 305-648-7070.