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Three men face charges in workers’ compensation fraud scheme

The former owners of two Bay Area painting companies were arraigned Monday in an Oakland court on fraud charges filed by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Insurance.

Three Bay Area men — Eric Andrew Oller, Brian Christopher Mitchell and Yama Sekander — were charged with being involved in a workers’ compensation scheme that defrauded insurance carriers of more than $5 million since 2015, according to a joint news release from the prosecutors.

Oller and Mitchell, the former owners of Walnut Creek-based Signature Painting and Construction, Inc., were each charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime, six counts each of felony insurance fraud and two counts of workers’ compensation fraud.

Sekander, owner of A-1 World Class Painting, was also charged with one count of felony workers’ compensation fraud.

A key element of the fraud, according to prosecutors, involved the defendants using Valhalla Consulting — owned by Oller — as a shell company to pay painting company employees, illegally reducing the workers’ compensation insurance premium.

One insurance carrier suffered lost premium payments totaling $3.1 million and another lost about $1.9 million, prosecutors said.

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