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6 accused of cheating workers' comp of millions

State and local officials arrested six men allegedly involved in a multimillion-dollar workers' compensation insurance scheme involving hundreds of general contractors throughout South Florida.

The group made millions cheating workers' compensation insurance by creating bogus subcontracting companies that lied about their number of employees, said Lt. Vance Akin of the state Department of Financial Services' insurance fraud division.

Two bogus companies raked in about $15-million after legitimately insuring one or two people, investigators said.

Contractors who were in on the scheme gave the subcontractors a check to be cashed at a South Florida check cashing store. Investigators said the contractors then hired uninsured workers and paid them cash under the table.

After people at the check cashing store and the subcontractors got their cuts, the money funneled back to the general contractors, who often paid employees in cash, Akin said.

Authorities raided the check cashing store and two Boca Raton homes this week, seizing about $1-million in cash. Also, $1-million was frozen in several bank accounts, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Francisco Nunes, 38, of Boca Raton; Marco Delgado, 26, of Boca Raton; and Edigar Neves, 46, of Pompano Beach were arrested Friday in the scheme. Amjad Shafiq Abuzahra, 36, Mohammad Sulaiman Salameh, 47, and Zeid Hasan Daas, 37, were arrested at the check cashing store.

The men face charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.

Authorities were also investigating more than 250 South Florida contractors, Akin said.