Prosecutor faces eight insurance fraud counts

By: JOHN HALL – Staff Writer

RIVERSIDE —- A former Riverside County prosecutor of the year is facing eight felony counts alleging insurance fraud involving a trucking company he owned, authorities said.

Miles Clark III, 41, was placed on paid administrative leave Oct. 26, said Ingrid Wyatt, spokeswoman with the Riverside County district attorney’s office. She said Clark has been a Riverside County prosecutor for three years.

The office awarded him its 2004 felony prosecutor of the year award and Clark was named 2003 misdemeanor prosecutor of the year.

Earlier this year, Clark successfully prosecuted a Lake Elsinore man for the murder and torture of Tracy Harrison outside Meadowbrook Market in 2003. Alejandro Gomez was convicted at Southwest Justice Center in French Valley and sentenced to two life sentences.

The felony charges against Clark were filed Nov. 17 by the state attorney general’s office, which conducted the investigation.

Clark’s attorney, Steve Harmon, declined to comment on the case Tuesday.

Clark owned and operated Miles Clark Trucking, according to court documents. It is unclear whether Clark still owns the business.

In the criminal complaint filed against the prosecutor, the Riverside resident is accused of willfully misrepresenting facts in order to obtain insurance at less than the proper rate for his company.

A state insurance fraud investigator wrote in a document seeking Clark’s arrest that Clark made “fraudulent representations regarding the number of employees he had and the company’s quarterly payroll” to receive a lower workers’ compensation insurance premium.

The amount of a monthly premium paid on a workers’ compensation policy is determined by the amount of payroll an employer paid, the type of work performed and the safety record of the employer, according to court documents.

Audits and other investigations were conducted of Clark’s company, ultimately leading to the filing of charges against him, court documents state.

Based on Clark’s representation that he had no employees or payroll from 1996 to April 2002, Clark paid only a minimum premium of less than $1,000 a year, Investigator Brian Schirka wrote.

However, Schirka states he learned that Clark reported to the state Employment Development Department that his company had paid wages of more than $239,000 in 2000; more than $342,000 in 2001; and nearly $271,000 for the first three quarters of 2002.

The EDD collects taxes from employers to provide state benefits. Employers are required by state law to report all wages paid for each employee on a quarterly basis.

Schirka wrote that he interviewed a number of people, based on EDD records, listed as employees of Clark’s company.

Each of the men told him that they were employees and not independent contractors, the investigator wrote. Each said they worked for Clark’s company at some point between 1999 and 2002 and that the business withheld taxes from their paychecks and each received W-2 statements from the company, Schirka said.

An audit by the State Compensation Insurance Fund showed that Clark’s company underpaid its premiums for 1999 and 2000, and owed $34,822 for the first year and $59,429 for 2000, the court document states. No information about alleged underpayments for other years were in documents reviewed Tuesday.

Wyatt said Tuesday there is no internal investigation being done by that office of Clark. She declined to discuss anything further, saying it was a confidential personnel matter.

Clark is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 8 at the Hall of Justice in Riverside.