Mercury News reports that a former volunteer reserve captain for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has been charged with defrauding the state workers’ compensation program of $17 million.
54 year old Simon Semaan, who lives in Los Angeles County, faces a maximum 16 years in state prison if convicted of seven felony counts of fraud and seven enhancements of committing a white collar crime of more than $500,000. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on $4 million bail. He was let go by the Sheriff’s Department this September
According to authorities, Semaan ran Pacwest Security Services, but did not have workers’ compensation insurance for his employees as required by law. He did have insurance with two different companies for a firm called PSSM Inc. The Costa Mesa company that provides licensed, unarmed security guards,
Semaan had been a sheriff’s reserve officer since 1993 and was a noted supporter of former Sheriff Michael S. Carona. Carona ultimately was found guilty of a federal charge of witness tampering and served 52 months in prison. Semaan, a Los Angeles resident, was let go by the Sheriff’s Department in September.
In 2008, he was appointed by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzegger to a state private security disciplinary review committee.
The alleged $17 million theft represents the largest insurance premium fraud case ever filed in Orange County and the second largest in California, authorities said.
“The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting these dishonest business owners as a way of protecting legitimate business owners who follow the law and play by the rules,” said Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Everyone deserves a level playing field, and Orange County is continuing to ensure that no one is gaining an unfair advantage to undercut the competition.”
An attorney for Semaan did not return Mercury News phone calls seeking comment.
The Sheriff’s Department declined to comment, other than to say he was no longer with the agency.