The state of Minnesota has charged a Princeton, Minnesota, construction firm with workers’ compensation fraud after the firm claimed it had no employees for two years, in a piece reported by Dee DePass of the Star Tribune.

A worker asserted that he injured his eye with a nail on a job site but was denied workers’ compensation medical coverage, which resulted in the filing of a criminal complaint.

The state’s Commerce Fraud Bureau investigated, and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office subsequently filed a criminal complaint this April. It charged Nelson Israel Lopez Giron, who owns a wood-framing contractor outfit, with workers’ compensation fraud.

According to the filing, Giron told his insurer the injured man was not his employee. A state investigation found otherwise and concluded more than a dozen workers on the job site the day of the injury were directly employed by Giron’s company. Bank and insurance records showed a payroll of $120,000 to $2 million around the time the incident occurred, the complaint said.

Giron Construction should have paid more than $20,500 a year in workers’ compensation premiums instead of the $671 minimum the contractor paid to secure a bare bones insurance policy, the complaint said.

“Evidence indicates that the defendant intentionally misled [his insurance company] with respect to Giron Construction's payroll,” according to the criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court.

The worker was hammering a nail into wood at a job site in February 2020 when the nail bounced back and struck him in the eye. Giron offered only eye drops for First Aid on the job site. When the worker said he needed medical help, Giron told the worker to lie to hospital staff about where the injury occurred, the complaint said.