San Ramon defense contractors admit to insurance fraud scheme

MARTINEZ — A mother and her son will serve a year of house arrest and pay a total of more than $500,000 in restitution and fees, as part of a plea deal with Contra Costa prosecutors to settle an insurance fraud case, the District Attorney announced Wednesday.

Selina Singh, 57, and Kabir Singh, 30, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit insurance premium fraud, along with a white collar crime enhancement, as part of the plea deal. Most of the restitution will go to the Employment Development Department “for underpayment of tax liability,” court records show.

The defendants own a company that contracts with the U.S. Military. County prosecutors say that when one of their employees hurt himself while working on a U.S. Army fort in Monterey county, and was told by his employers not to report the injury, it was discovered they were under-representing their payrolls to evade $2 million in insurance premiums.

Selina and Kabir were charged last year, along with Manjinder Paul “MP” Singh, 59, who is Kabir’s father and Selina’s husband. He remains at large — believed to be in India — with a warrant out for his arrest, authorities said.

The three were charged by the Contra Costa District Attorney in November 2018, with money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy. The charges are tied to two San Ramon businesses owned by the family, Bara Infoware and Federal Solutions Group, both of which had contracts with the Department of Defense, according to the companies’ websites.

The charging documents alleged that the defendants instructed employees not to report injuries, sometimes giving them bribes as an incentive, in order to avoid paying insurance fees. They were also accused of providing false information to insurance companies.

Federal Solutions Group’s website says its clients include the U.S. Armed Services, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the National Guard, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Workers compensation coverage to protect employees from injury is mandatory in the State of California,” DA office spokesman Scott Alonso said in a news release. “Premium fraud creates unfair competition in dangerous industries, as law-abiding business owners are outbid by competitors that unlawfully evade the cost of coverage at the expense of their workers.”

The investigation started after a Bara employee severed his thumb while working on a company project at Fort Hunter Liggett, and Selina told him to report it as having happened on Federal Solutions Group’s watch instead. The employee reported the conduct to the Monterey District Attorney, who in turn brought Contra Costa authorities into the loop.

The Singhs will be sentenced on November 19, by Superior Court Judge Laurel Brady. The terms of their sentences formally impose a 364 days of jail, but allow it to be served on home detention, court records show.

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