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Queens Construction Company Owners Busted For Dodging $2.6M in Employee Insurance Premiums

(Josh Olalde via Unsplash)

Dec. 23, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

Two Queens construction company owners were busted Tuesday for defrauding the New York State Insurance Fund out of more than $2.6 million.

Charges were filed against Manuel Sanchez and his East Elmhurst company, Lagos Construction, for failing to pay more than $2 million in employee insurance premiums, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Sanchez allegedly dodged the premiums by underreporting his revenue.

Meanwhile, Rosa Rodriguez and her company, Encinos Construction, located in Corona, were also charged with failing to pay employee insurance payments using the same scheme, Queens DA Melinda Katz said. She ducked paying $460,000 in premiums, according to the charges.

“These two employers allegedly pocketed money that should have helped fund the insurance program. This is unacceptable,” Katz said. “Employees depend on the worker’s compensation insurance for their much-needed wages and medical care when they are injured on the job.”

Sanchez, from 100th Street, and Lagos Construction, allegedly falsified their business records and underreported the business they were doing to avoid paying $2.2 million in insurance premiums, according to the charges.

NYSIF allegedly conducted four audits of Lagos Construction’s business records between 2014 and 2018 to determine how much the company failed to pay into the state insurance fund. The audits included a review of the company’s checkbooks, bank statements, contracts, tax returns, unemployment insurance reports and other documents.

Separately, Rodriguez, from 112th Street, and Encinos Construction hid $3 million in revenue from 2015 through 2017 based an NYSIF audit. That figure represented more than $460,000 in unpaid insurance premiums to the NYSIF, according to the charges.

Sanchez, 50, and Rodriguez, 37, were charged with grand larceny, insurance fraud, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing and fraudulent practice.

Sanchez faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of all charges while Rodriguez faces a maximum of 15 years behind bars if found guilty.

They were both ordered to return to Queens Criminal Court in March.

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