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The economy sucks, so lets waste more tax dollars July 16, 2009

Posted by jefhenningeresq in News.
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I really can’t figure out why the NJ AG’s office does not file criminal charges in some cases while opting for civil suits, and then filing criminal charges where civil charges would seem appropriate.  I have some cases like this and the State tries to argue that these cases are all strict liability but I don’t buy it.  I just don’t see how this is criminal.  There is no “mens rea” here.

Anyway, I think criminal charges are a waste of time and money here unless this guy is just a big pain in the ass.  However, I have to imagine that if you were to call him up and tell him that we could do this the easy way or the hard way, he would choose the easy way.

Here’s the press release:

Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that a Morris County man has been indicted for allegedly failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage to his employees. As a result, the State of New Jersey was forced to pay out more than $253,000.

According to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni, Mack Stevens, 40, of Lake Hopatcong, was charged with fourth-degree failure to provide workers’ compensation coverage.

According to the indictment, between Oct. 7, 2003 and April 28, 2009, Stevens, the owner of Accurate Paving, an unincorporated paving company in Lake Hopatcong, failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage to his employees. On Oct. 8, 2003, an Accurate Paving employee suffered serious injuries as a result of an accident that occurred while he was on the job. The employee needed surgery and a three-month stay in the hospital. It is alleged that, because Stevens did not carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, the New Jersey Uninsured Employers’ Fund was forced to pay $253,770 to the employee for expenses that he incurred as a result of the accident.

The investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice determined that as recently as April 2009, Accurate Paving and Mack Stevens still did not have workers’ compensation coverage in place.

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Comments»

1. Jonathan Soroko - July 24, 2009

You make a strong argument. It seems to me that the government in fairness can collect its costs, impose a fine for deterrence – so there’s a price for willful noncompliance.

But if there’s no fraud, no false statements – it seems perilously close to the ethical line of bringing criminal charges as leverage to settle a civil matter.

However – given that on its face this is a criminal violation – perhaps it would be appropriate to (1) bring criminal charges against the corporation(s), and (2) bar the principals and corporations from bidding on public contracts.

Just an observation – I haven’t thought it through completely.

JS


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