On March 20, 2019, Attorney General Maura Healey that a Suffolk County Grand Jury had indicted the owner of a Revere contracting company, Valentin’s Construction Company, Inc., in connection with a workers’ compensation insurance fraud scheme.
The grand jury indicted Mr. Anner Valentin Amaya, 45, of Revere, on five counts of workers’ compensation fraud, two counts of failure to provide workers’ compensation insurance, five counts of grand larceny by false pretenses. Mr. Amaya is
Insurance Fraud Bureau referral to the Attorney General
Valentin’s Construction Company’s website says, “Valentin’s has been a trusted general contractor, serving the greater Boston area since 2006,” and that the company, “specializes in commercial and residential contracting improvements. The business services include but is not limited to renovations of bathrooms, kitchens, basements and attics, decks, roofing as well as flooring.”
The twelve-count indictment alleges that between May 2012 and August 2016, Mr. Amaya, acting for himself and as the president, treasurer, clerk, sole director, and owner of Valentin’s General Contractors, substantially underreported the number of individuals his business employed and the amount he paid these employees when audited by his workers’ compensation insurance provider.
In total, the indictment alleges that Mr. Amaya evaded more than $73,000 in insurance premiums by his underreporting the employees and payroll of his construction company.
The Attorney General began the investigation of Mr. Amaya’s premium fraud through a referral from the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
Indictments charge felonies for workers’ compensation fraud and grand larceny
In Massachusetts, by statute: “A crime punishable by…imprisonment in the state prison is a felony. All other crimes are misdemeanors.” The twelve charges against Mr. Amaya allege felonies, and one charge alleges a misdemeanor.
The five counts against Mr. Amaya alleging workers’ compensation fraud would fall under Massachusetts General Law c. 152, § 14(3) which makes it a felony to:
…knowingly make any false or misleading statement, representation or submission …for the purpose of obtaining…coverage, or [to] knowingly misclassif[y] employees…for the purpose of avoiding full payment of insurance premiums…”
Violating §14 carries a state prison sentence of up to five years or a jail sentence of “not less than six months nor more than two and one-half years” and a fine of up to $10 thousand. And 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…”
In this case, if proven Mr. Amaya would have to pay back the insurers involved, the $73,000 he gained by underreporting his company’s employees and payroll.
The grand larceny counts also charge felonies since the amounts involved exceed $250.00. A conviction under the grand larceny statute carries a possible state prison sentence of up to five years as well as a fine of up to $25 thousand.
The two remaining charges, failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance violates G.L. c. 152, § 25C (5), which provides:
[A]n employer who fails to provide for insurance or self-insurance as required by this chapter shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.”
Since violating this statute does not allow for a sentence to state prison, a violation is a misdemeanor.
Mr. Avaya will appear for his arraignment on the twelve charges against him in Suffolk Superior Court on April 17, 2019.
Attorney General’s Office and Insurance Fraud Bureau worked jointly
Attorney General Healey’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Unit works to protect consumers and the integrity of the insurance system by investigating and prosecuting those who commit fraud against all types of insurers, including the commonwealth’s unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation systems.
Assistant Attorney General Kristy Lavigne is prosecuting the case against Mr. Amaya aided by Senior Investigator Phillip Mantyla of Attorney General Healey’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Unit and investigators at the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
Attorney General Healey’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Unit has among its charges the responsibility of protecting the integrity of the commonwealth’s insurance system by investigating and prosecuting crimes involving fraud against any insurer or insurance system, including unemployment and workers’ compensation insurance.