The defendant is the owner of Bob Foss Contracting
On March 3, 2016, Attorney General Maura Healey announced that the Suffolk County Grand Jury had returned four indictments charging Robert Foss, age 54, of Wilmington, with workers’ compensation fraud.
The Grand Jury’s indictments charged that between 2009 and 2012, Mr. Foss defrauded two insurance companies of $120,000 in premium under three separate insurance policies.
In announcing the indictments, Attorney General Healey stated: “We allege that this defendant [Mr. Foss] 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.”
Additionally, Attorney General Healey affirmed that: “Our office is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who engage in this type of fraud for their own benefit.”
Fraudulent statements as to business class
The indictments allege that Mr. Foss defrauded the two insurance companies of workers’ compensation insurance premiums totalling $120,000. He accomplished this by describing his Burlington business as a general contractor rather than as a roofing company.
– imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by imprisonment in jail for not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years…
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.
Allegedly, Mr. Foss misrepresented the nature of his business on an application for insurance through the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Assigned Risk Pool. Based on this misrepresentation, the WCRIB did not classify Mr. Foss’ policy properly as a roofing risk and Mr. Foss paid $120,000 less in workers’ compensation premiums than he would have been paid, if the policies had been properly classified at the higher correct premium.
On Mr. Foss’ company’s website, Bob Foss Contracting, the company states that it is a “General Contractor in the Greater Boston Area.”
In fact, some of the testimonials from customers speak of general construction projects but others say:
Thank you so much for the excellent roofing job! You may use us as a reference. Thanks again! We’ll keep you in mind for future projects.
* * *
I want to congratulate you on the men who did our roofing job. They were polite, respectful, friendly, cheerful and hard workers.
Insurance Fraud Bureau referred premium fraud case to Attorney General
The Attorney General proceeded with the prosecution as a result of The Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts (IFB) referring Mr. Foss’ case to the Attorney General’s Office in May 2013. The IFB made the referral after conducting an investigation into allegations that Mr. Foss’ company was committing insurance fraud.
After the Attorney General announced Mr. Foss’ insurance fraud indictments, The IFB’s Executive Director, Daniel Johnston was quoted as stating:
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…The Insurance Fraud Bureau pursues these cases so that there can be a fair playing field for all businesses in the Commonwealth.
Statute makes false statements to obtain workers’ compensation coverage or misclassifying employees a felony
The workers’ compensation statute, M.G.L. c. 152, § 14(3) makes it a felony to:
…knowingly [make] any false or misleading statement, representation or submission …for the purpose of obtaining…coverage… [or for] any person or employer…knowingly misclassify[ing] employees …
The violation of §14 carries “imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by imprisonment in jail for not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years and a fine of or by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than ten thousand dollars, or by both.” Additionally, the same statute provides that,
A person found guilty of violating this section [§14(3)] shall, in all cases, upon conviction, in addition to any other punishment, be ordered to make restitution for any financial loss sustained to an aggrieved person as a result of the commission of the crime….
Mr. Foss indicted for Suffolk and Middlesex County charges by statewide grand jury
Mr. Foss is scheduled for arraignment on March 21st in Suffolk Superior Court and on March 22nd in Middlesex Superior Court.
“Our office is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who engage in this type of fraud for their own benefit – AG’s office”
Mr. Foss must answer indictments in both Suffolk and Middlesex counties even though the indictments were issued by a grand jury only sitting in Suffolk County. The law allows this simplified indictment procedure since 2015 when the Legislature reinstated a law allowing the Attorney General to request statewide grand juries.
Under the statewide grand jury law, the Attorney General need only present evidence to a designated county grand jury to have indictments returned for any county. This improvement in procedure avoids duplicate presentation of evidence where a defendant has committed essentially the same crime in different counties. Without the statewide grand jury law, the Attorney General would have had to present the same evidence and witnesses to the Suffolk County grand jury and then again to a Middlesex County grand jury.