San Francisco construction firms charged by D.A. for alleged insurance fraud scheme

The owners and an employee at a San Francisco plastering corporation and its sister development agency had been billed with many felonies for allegedly engaging in a several years-prolonged tax and insurance policy fraud scheme, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins introduced.

Denis Cullinane, owner of Cullinane Plastering, and his brother Jeremiah Cullinane, operator of Cullinane Development, together with workplace administrator Gemma Maher, were being accused of concealing $5.8 million in unreported payroll in purchase to avoid having to pay taxes and insurance policies rates.

In accordance to a push release from the District Attorney’s Office environment, the Cullinane brothers are both at significant and have warrants exceptional versus them even though their organization assets have been frozen. Maher, who has both Irish and U.S. passports, was arraigned before this week and was requested by the judge not to depart the condition of California. Some of her regarded property ended up frozen by courtroom purchase.

All 3 defendants are San Francisco people. If they ended up convicted, sentencing suggestions advise a condition prison term of up to 16 yrs for Jerry Cullinane and Maher, and 15 decades for Jerry Cullinane.

“These inexcusable crimes victimize hard-operating staff trying to get paid a living and cheated taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands in community resources,” claimed Jenkins in a statement. “Holding Cullinane accountable for these crimes is essential to guaranteeing that personnel are safeguarded, and the program is not exploited with inflated and unfair costs to insurers, consumers, enterprises and taxpayers.”

Cullinane Building and Cullinane Plastering are detailed with addresses on the 1800 block of Mission Road and the 100 block of Beulah Road. Calls to the business trying to find comment on the expenses towards them were being not returned in timely fashion.

According to the criticism, the alleged fraud surfaced immediately after a Cullinane Plastering employee was seriously wounded though doing the job at a job web-site in May, 2019.

The staff was working as a carpenter when a stage — a instrument to establish straightness — fell on him from a increased story, according to the District Attorney’s Office environment. He suffered a spinal injury and shed experience in his legs. Co-workers assisted him to his car or truck the place he remained until eventually the thoughts in his legs arrived again.

The Cullinanes allegedly concealed the injury from their coverage provider, Point out Payment Insurance coverage Fund, for additional than a calendar year. When Maher at last disclosed to the point out insurance fund the workplace injuries 1 calendar year later on, she allegedly misrepresented the employee’s work heritage and downplayed the injuries in buy to protect her employer from incurring damages, allegedly furthering the fraud.

The ensuing investigation uncovered that the workplace damage experienced been allegedly concealed in violation of California regulation. In addition, the investigation showed that Cullinane Plastering and Cullinane Construction allegedly filed fraudulent payroll information and facts to the two the state insurance policy fund from 2018 to 2020 and the Employment Enhancement Division from 2017 to 2020.

Since of the underreporting, the state insurance policy fund lost an estimated $270,000 in costs and EDD $300,000, in addition $1.5 million in penalties.

This fraudulent information allegedly decreased payroll tax contributions and personnel compensation contributions. The defendants’ property have been frozen below a preceding court docket buy to protect against them from liquidating assets and to protect funds for restitution to the victims.

“Our place of work will keep individuals and organizations who lie and engage in fraud accountable,” Jenkins stated.

Sam Whiting is a San Francisco Chronicle personnel writer. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @samwhitingsf

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