Florida CFO Jeff Atwater Announces Arrest of Navarre Businessman for Workers’ Compensation Fraud Scheme
Contact: Anna Alexopoulos
TALLAHASSEE - Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced today the arrest of a Santa Rosa County construction company president on charges of falsifying payroll information to avoid workers’ compensation premiums. Randall Morton Seltzer, 43, president of Navarre Industries Inc., was charged with multiple felony counts, including workers’ compensation fraud and grand theft. The arrest resulted from an investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud.
“Workers’ compensation insurance is vital to the health and protection of businesses and Florida’s economy as a whole,” CFO Atwater said. “Just last week, the Legislature passed reforms that target schemes just like this one that are diverting a billion dollars from Florida’s economy.”
The investigation revealed that Seltzer intentionally and systematically under-reported his corporation’s true payroll to his insurance carrier, Guarantee Insurance Company. The fraud investigation was based on a referral from the department’s Division of Workers’ Compensation, which issued the company two stop work orders within a five-year period.
Seltzer allegedly established a shell corporation in 2011 under the name Hip Roof & Valley Inc. to intentionally violate the stop work orders and continue operating his construction business illegally. Seltzer was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail and is awaiting bond. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison and be forced to pay over $2.8 million in restitution.
This arrest comes as CFO Atwater aggressively cracks down on shell corporations and check-cashing schemes designed to intentionally undermine workers’ compensation insurance laws and drive up insurance rates for businesses across the state.
CFO Atwater convened a working group in August 2011 to review the practices of certain bad actors in the check cashing services industry who were aiding in a complex workers’ compensation premium fraud scheme. The work group released its report in November, recommending reforms to combat this scheme that were passed in legislation this session.
Anyone with information regarding suspected insurance fraud is asked to call 1-800-378-0445. Individuals who provide tips can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme. The Department of Financial Services to date has awarded almost $250,000 to approximately 40 citizens as part of its Anti-Fraud Reward Program.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending.