Attorney General Maura Healey has announced that a Dukes County grand jury has indicted an Edgartown stone mason, Georgy Pyden (55), for workers’ compensation fraud and grand larceny.
Mr. Pyden had conducted a residential and commercial masonry business individually and then through his corporation, Rockwell Masonry, Inc., for over twenty-eight years on Martha’s Vineyard. However, Mr. Pyden dissolved Rockwell Masonry, Inc. in May 2022 and has shut down its website.
Defrauded A.I.M. Mutual and the Workers’ Compensation Pool of $30,000 from 2016 to 2020
The grand jury’s indictments allege that Mr. Pyden defrauded the A.I.M. Mutual Insurance Company and the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Assigned Risk Pool from 2016 to 2020 of more than $30,000 in workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
During its investigation, the Insurance Fraud Bureau found that during this four-year period from 2016 to 2020, Mr. Pyden reported that he was the sole employee of Rockwell Masonry, Inc for workers’ compensation insurance purposes. However, the evidence showed that, during this period, Mr. Pyden’s business had multiple employees who Mr. Pyden did not list on his required audit reports to A.I.M. Mutual during this period. These reports were necessary for the insurer to compute the correct workers’ compensation premium owed by Rockwell Masonry.
As a result of his fraudulent reporting during these four years, Mr. Pyden’s company underpaid its workers’ compensation premiums due to A.I.M. Mutual by $30 thousand. According to the Attorney General’s announcement, “the hidden workers that Pyden employed were not covered by workers’ compensation insurance.”
Indictments charge felonies for workers’ compensation fraud and grand larceny
The Dukes County grand jury indictments charge Mr. Pyden with four counts each of workers’ compensation fraud and larceny.
In Massachusetts, a crime punishable by imprisonment in the state prison is a felony. The charges against Mr. Pyden allege felonies since they all carry the possibility of a state prison sentence, but not the likelihood.
Massachusetts General Law c. 152, § 14(3), which defines the crime of workers’ compensation fraud allows punishment of up to five-years in state prison, 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 for anyone who:
Knowingly make any false or misleading statement, representation, or submission …for the purpose of obtaining…coverage, or misclassify employees…for the purpose of avoiding full payment of insurance premiums.”
Likewise, the larceny charges against Mr. Pyden allege felonies because they involve frauds involving more than $1200.00. An allowed but unlikely sentence for grand theft includes imprisonment for up to five years in the state prison. The statute also authorizes the court to impose a fine of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars or imprisonment in a county jail for not more than two years.
Under the workers’ compensation fraud statute, restitution is mandatory upon a defendant’s conviction. The statute provides:
The court shall, after conviction, conduct an evidentiary hearing to ascertain the extent of the damages or financial loss suffered as a result of the defendant’s crime. A person found guilty of violating this section 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.
An arraignment is scheduled for the end of September
According to the Attorney General’s announcement of the indictments against Mr. Pyden, the Dukes County Superior Court has scheduled his arraignment for September 30. The Superior Court for Dukes County hears arraignments and trials in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard.
Dukes County consists primarily of the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Chappaquiddick Island, and the Elizabeth Islands.
The Attorney General’s team prosecuting Mr. Pyden
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General William Aiello and Investigator Lashauna Craig, both of AG Healey’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division, with assistance from investigators at the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau.
Attorney General Healey’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division
Attorney General Healey’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division 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.
Twenty-four-hour hotline to report insurance fraud
To report insurance fraud, call the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts confidential hotline 24 hours a day at 1-800-32FRAUD (1-800-323-7283) or online. Callers may remain anonymous.