In November 2009, the Attorney General’s Office began an investigation of Thomas Leonard after being referred to the matter by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB). Leonard is the owner of TLC Exteriors (TLC), a roofing business based in South Hadley. During a four year period from May 2004 through May 2008, Mr. Leonard misclassified his workers as carpenters, instead of roofers, in order to avoid paying higher worker’s compensation insurance premiums. The Attorney General’s office says that the proper insurance premiums are calculated by the Worker’s Compensation Ratings and Inspection Bureau which provides rates based upon the risk exposure of the work.
The AG’s office said that Mr. Leonard intentionally classified his worker’s as carpenters so that they would be perceived as performing less risky work in order to avoid paying a higher worker’s compensation premium because roofing is a higher risk job classification. Mr. Leonard told his insurance company, AIM Mutual Insurance Company, that he had a carpentry business and subcontracted out any roofing work when in fact IFB investigators discovered that Leonard employed full-time roofers since his first policy with AIM in May 2004.
“The defendant lied to his insurance company to save money on his worker’s compensation policies,” AG Coakley explained. “Employers in the Commonwealth must provide proper insurance coverage to their employees.”
In June of 2010 a Grand Jury in Hampshire County returned indictments against Leonard. Last week, Leonard, 44, pleaded guilty to charges of Worker’s Compensation Fraud (4 counts) and Larceny over $250 (4 counts.) After entering the plea, Hampden Superior Court Judge Bertha Josephson sentenced Leonard to two and half years in the House of Correction, sentence suspended for five years with probation. He was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine as well as $40,000 in restitution to AIM.