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Builders Sentenced for Failure to Pay California Workers’ Comp

Posted on Nov 17, 2013

The owner of a Santa Cruz County construction company convicted on two felony counts of insurance fraud was sentenced in late October, according to Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee. Other company employees involved in the case were also sentenced for playing a role in the fraud.

Jeff Thranow, 59, owner of Costa Bella Builders, was sentenced to one year in jail and nearly $115,000 in restitution to the injured parties. Thranow’s daughter, 34-year-old Kathleen Castelli, was convicted for misdemeanor insurance fraud and failure to pay payroll taxes. His son-in-law, Vittorio Castelli, 34, was sentenced to six months of jail time for felony insurance fraud.

In response to an employee tip, investigators discovered that the company hadn’t been paying workers’ compensation insurance or payroll taxes, instead coercing employees to take payment in cash.

When a worker required surgery for an on-the-job injury, Thranow discouraged him from filing for workers’ compensation. Instead, the employee was given a State Disability Form and told to claim he had been injured at his home.

According to California State law, employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees; not complying could mean as much as one year in jail and double the amount of premium owed.

If you are grappling with your employer’s insurance provider after a workplace injury, schedule a no-cost consultation with a Tehama workers' compensation attorney to learn more about how the skilled professionals at Ledgerwood Law Group can help. Call toll-free 888-761-7383 or fill out the online contact form to learn more.

Our informative book, The California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual, is FREE—call today to get your copy!

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Thomas Ledgerwood
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