Payroll Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation
COLUMBUS, Ohio – John R. Cacaro, 58, of West Chester, Ohio, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering as part of a scheme to defraud the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for his own personal gain.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation, and Jim Wernecke, Director, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation special investigations department, announced the guilty plea entered into today before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.
According to court documents, between 2011 and 2013, Cacaro owned Employers Choice Plus, LLC, a company classified by the Ohio BWC as a Professional Employment Organization (PEO). A PEO is generally responsible for processing payroll and remitting insurance premium payments to the Ohio BWC on behalf of their client employers.
Specifically, on a weekly basis, more than 100 client companies would provide Cacaro’s company with payroll information. Employers Choice Plus then computed the amounts owed to employees, taxing authorities and the Ohio BWC. Employers Choice Plus sent weekly invoices to the client companies, who would then pay Employers Choice Plus electronically for Employers Choice Plus to pay the payroll, taxes and workers’ compensation. Cacaro’s company issued the employees’ paychecks, paid the taxing authorities and maintained the workers’ compensation premiums until they were due to be paid semi-annually.
On a semi-annual basis, Cacaro electronically reported to the Ohio BWC the payroll paid by each of his client employers, as well as the amount of workers' compensation premiums due based on the payroll.
Cacaro understated the payroll by millions of dollars, though, which resulted in a lesser amount of premiums owed to the Ohio BWC, despite having collected the correct amounts from its client employers. In total, Cacaro underreported more than $425,000 in workers’ compensation premiums.
Cacaro used the profits of scheme to fund lavish personal purchases, including a second residence in Naples, Fla. and a motor home.
As part of his plea agreement, he has agreed to pay the total amount of $425,246.58 in restitution.
“John Cacaro lined his pockets with the hard-earned money of his clients and systematically defrauded the Ohio BWC,” said Special Agent in Charge Korner. “Now he is a convicted felon and must repay the stolen money.”
“Anyone who cheats BWC to enrich themselves is driving up the cost of the whole system, and that hurts all of us,” said Director Wernecke. “It hurts employers who follow the law and play by the rules, and it hurts the injured workers who rely on us to help them get back to work and back to their lives as soon as safely possible.”
Wire fraud is a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison and money laundering is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by IRS Criminal Investigation and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Jessica H. Kim, who is prosecuting the case.
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