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Post date: May 14 2002

Bridge Painter Pleads Guilty To Defrauding State Insurance Fund

New York State Attorney General Spitzer, State Police Superintendent James McMahon, Inspector General Roslynn Mauskopf and State Insurance Fund Executive Director Kenneth J. Ross announced that the owner of a Buffalo-based painting company has pleaded guilty in Erie County Court to defrauding the state of nearly $175,000.

The defendant, Michael Boubaris, 67, of East Amherst, owns and operates two Western New York-based businesses, Amherst Painting and Amherst Maintenance. From 1997 to 1999, the companies were under contract to paint bridges for the State Department of Transportation and other agencies. The contracts totaled $3.6 million.

Boubaris pleaded guilty on Monday, May 13, before acting Supreme Court Judge Mario J. Rossetti to Insurance Fraud in the Third Degree, a class "D" felony and Violating Workers Compensation Law, a class "E" felony. He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to be sentenced August 8.

Boubaris admitted that in 1997 and in 2000 he misrepresented to the State Insurance Fund the work classification of his employees in order to minimize his premiums. It is estimated that Boubaris paid approximately 25 percent of what he actually owed in premiums to the Insurance Fund.

The State Insurance Fund sells workers compensation insurance to more than 163,000 policy holders conducting business in New York State ranging from small commercial establishments to large corporations.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Richard S. Ernst of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, Investigator Shaun Thurston of the Investigations Bureau; Investigator Mike Kirkpatrick of the New York State Police; Deputy Inspector General Charles Norfleet and Investigators Kevin Honikel and Jonathan Masters of the Inspector General’s Office; and Investigator Stanley Radwan and Auditor Jerry Barbour of the New York State Insurance Fund.