Hospitality Industry Insurance Risks: California Restaurant Owners Charged With “Felony Worker’s Compensation Fraud” For Failing To Insure Twelve Employees; Fines Totalling $18,000

“…an anonymous complaint (alleged) that the restaurant did not have workers’ comp insurance as required by law…following a visit to the restaurant, a civil citation (was issued) with penalties totaling $18,000 for failing workers comp fraudto insure their 12 employees…businesses not carrying valid workers’ compensation coverage are considered uninsured and face a “Stop Notice and Penalty Assessment” from the Labor Commissioner and fines of $1,500 per employee, up to $100,000. If an injury occurs, the fine increases to $10,000 per employee. A worker injured while working for an uninsured employer can sue for damages and the employer is presumed negligent in such cases…”

The owners of a restaurant in San Marcos, Calif. have been charged with felony counts of workers’ compensation fraud and forgery following a referral by the California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su’s criminal investigation unit to the San Diego District Attorney’s Office.

The district attorney’s charges, filed in San Diego Superior Court on Jan. 29, allege that Rhythm City Grill owners John Fletcher Johnson and Annette Lucille Thomas each committed two felony counts of forgery of a workers comp insurance policy and a misdemeanor charge of conducting business without workers’ compe insurance. Johnson was also charged with an additional felony for submitting a false document to a government agency. He and Thomas were arraigned Feb. 14.

If convicted, Johnson and Thomas face up to 16 years in prison for the felony charges. The failure to secure workers’ comp insurance carries a misdemeanor charge of 1 year and a fine.

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Filed under Crime, Injuries, Insurance, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

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