Certified Public Accountant Allegedly Submitted Fraudulent Filings on Behalf of Masonry Subcontractor
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr., today announced the indictment of ONETEAM RESTORATION, INC. (“ONETEAM”), its owner and president MARIO ROJAS, JR., and Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”) STEVEN LYON for defrauding the New York State Insurance Fund (“NYSIF”) of more than $7 million in workers’ compensation insurance premium payments by filing doctored payroll-related documents that greatly reduced the size of ONETEAM’s workforce. The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with three counts of Insurance Fraud in the First Degree and three counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.
“The New York State Insurance Fund provides critical insurance coverage to injured workers, including those in some of our most dangerous industries like construction and manufacturing,” said District Attorney Bragg. “By intentionally underreporting payrolls, scammers save millions in premiums at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers who put their physical safety on the line. I thank the New York State Insurance Fund and the New York State Department of Labor for their ongoing partnership as we continue to root out insurance fraud.”
According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, ONETEAM, a Long Island City-based masonry subcontractor specializing in building façade repairs and waterproofing, and ROJAS, its owner, hired LYON to prepare and file the company’s “Quarterly Payroll Reports” with the New York State Department of Labor, as well as its yearly state and federal tax returns. LYON also acted as the company’s representative during NYSIF’s mandatory annual audits.
As alleged, from January 1, 2019, to May 15, 2021, LYON used separate email accounts to file payroll-related documents with the Department of Labor and NYSIF. While the filings submitted to DOL were accurate, the filings submitted to NYSIF were doctored to drastically reduce the size of ONETEAM’s workforce. NYSIF relied on these false documents to calculate ONETEAM’s workers compensation insurance premiums, grossly under-charging the company as a result. Over the course of the scheme, ONETEAM underreported its payroll by more than $16 million, and underpaid NYSIF by more than $7 million.