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Homestead Company Owner Facing Fraud Charges

5/27/2003

CONTACT: Nina Banister
(850) 413-2842

HOMESTEAD, FL – The owner of a South Florida drywall and plastering company is facing charges of workers' compensation insurance premium fraud for allegedly under-reporting payroll to avoid $140,000 in insurance premiums.

Kraig Wayne Bryan, 32, owner of B&D Drywall, Inc., surrendered last Wednesday on two felony counts and was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on a $7,500 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison in addition to possible fines and restitution. The charges follow an investigation by the Department of Financial Services' Division of Insurance Fraud. Investigators said Bryan operated the business from his home at 1866 NW 8th Terrace in Homestead.

"Employers who evade premiums risk leaving workers without a safety net to pay for potential work-related injuries," said Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services. "Workers' compensation fraud also drives up costs for businesses that follow the law."

Bryan is accused of under-reporting his payroll for B&D Drywall, Inc. by nearly $800,000 to two insurance companies, AmComp Assurance Corporation and Bridgefield Casualty Insurance Company. Investigators said the under-reporting occurred on 41 consecutive monthly self-audits that Bryan completed, signed and forwarded to the companies between June 1999 and December 2003.

Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Michael Rachel, with the Office of Statewide Prosecution in West Palm Beach, is handling the prosecution.

El Departamento de Servicios Financieros, División de Fraudes de Seguros, investiga fraudes de todo tipo de seguros, incluyendo de salud, vida, automóvil, propiedad y compensación legal por accidentes de trabajo. Para informar sobre un posible caso de fraude de seguros, llame a la línea de ayuda al consumidor del departamento al 1-800-378-0445. Se ofrece una recompensa de hasta $25,000 a cambio de información que conduzca a una condena en casos de fraude de seguros.