Business Owner To Be Jailed For Workers Compensation Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that the head of a steel erection company pleaded guilty to Insurance Fraud in the Second Degree for his role in a workers compensation premium fraud scam.

Dale Fajen, 54, of 1141 Old Schaghticoke Road, Schaghticoke, New York, was formerly the owner of DBS and JAC Construction. While running the two companies, Mr. Fajen wrongfully withheld thousands of dollars in premiums from the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) by falsifying the labor classification of the workers.

"When insurance companies providing workers compensation insurance are defrauded everyone suffers–fellow customers through higher premiums and the employees that are supposed to be protected by these policies," Spitzer said.

On May 24, 2002, while at DBS, Mr. Fajen directed his employees to falsely declare the type of work the company performed as carpentry on a workers compensation policy with the NYSIF that would be in effect from May 24, 2002 to June 27, 2004. As a result, the defendant underpaid over $100,000 in premiums to the NYSIF in the 2-year period.

The defendant’s premium fraud scheme went as far back as August of 1998 with his formerly owned company JAC Construction. Mr. Fajen instructed his employees to falsely state in State Insurance Fund workers compensation application that the company performed welding. However, JAC Construction, like DBS, performed steel erection of commercial buildings. From August 1998 to March 2000, this false labor classification enabled the defendant to wrongfully withhold over $30,000 in premiums from the NYSIF.

"The New York State Insurance Fund pursues workers’ compensation fraud aggressively, whether it’s by a policyholder, medical provider or claimant. In this case, our investigators worked closely with the Office of the Attorney General to unravel a case of policyholder fraud that began with an alert NYSIF underwriter who noticed something amiss with the classification code used by the policyholder, leading to a case of fraud of over $130,000," NYSIF co-executive directors Christopher Barclay and Douglas Hayden said in a joint statement. "The success of this case can be traced to efforts in the war on fraud on several levels: it is a credit to training in fraud prevention that all of our employees undergo on a regular basis; to the persistence of our Division of Confidential Investigations, which has long been a leader in the fight against workers; compensation fraud in New York State, and to the cooperation and assistance of the Attorney General’s office in the investigations, arrest and prosecution of the individuals who defrauded NYSIF."

Mr. Fajen pleaded guilty on October 17, 2005 in front of the Hon. Jerry J. Scarano in County Court, Saratoga County, where he signed a confession of judgement in favor of the NYSIF for $135, 046.39. The defendant will be sentenced on December 12, 2005 to six months incarceration and five years of probation.

In addition, as a part of the plea agreement Mr. Fajen pleaded guilty on October 26, 2005 to a violation of Section 220 of Labor Law for failing to pay an ironworker, Erik Gilboy, the prevailing wage on a public works job at the Averrill Park School District from November 2, 2003 to February 8, 2004. Mr. Fajen signed a confession of judgement for the underpaid wage for Mr. Gilboy, which amounts to $10,520.64.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Johanna Sullivan of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Viola Abbitt. The case was investigated by Senior Investigator Michael Battisti under the supervision of Special Investigator David Adams and Deputy Investigator James Horton, and Investigator Stan Marchinkowski of the State Insurance Fund.