A California plumbing contractor has been charged with 21 felony counts of forgery, theft by false pretense, and workers’ compensation insurance fraud.
Adan Deniz, 43, faces the charges for allegedly creating fraudulent certificates to secure jobs and underreporting payroll by more than $426,000 to save on insurance premiums, according to the California Department of Insurance.
“This contractor created an unfair advantage for himself when he allegedly created fraudulent certificates to secure contracts,” said California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “This work could have gone to other businesses who followed the rules. Instead, he put the clients who trusted him at risk. My department is committed to investigating insurance fraud to protect Californians and level the playing field for hardworking business owners who are the engine of our continued economic recovery.”
The department began investigating Deniz after an insurance agent reported that he had received a copy of a fraudulent certificate of insurance that had been issued in the agent’s name and included a forgery of his signature.
The investigation found that Deniz had allegedly created the fraudulent certificate, along with nine other phony certificates of insurance, between May 2018 and July 2020. Each of the fraudulent certificates contained false information about insurance coverage and a forged signature purporting to come from a licensed insurance agent.
Deniz allegedly submitted the phony certificates to his clients and to government agencies in order to make them believe he had the required insurance coverage. These forged certificates allowed Deniz to unfairly secure several plumbing jobs and government permits related to those jobs.
While investigating the fraudulent insurance certificates, investigators also found that Deniz had underreported his company’s payroll from July 2016 to July 2019. A review found that he had allegedly underreported payroll by $426,750 in order to avoid paying $52,269 in insurance premiums to the State Compensation Insurance Fund.