|RALEIGH, N.C. – A new fraud alerting tool recently installed by the North Carolina Industrial Commission has led to criminal charges being filed against North Carolina employers who failed to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. The Noncompliant Employer Targeting System (NETS) uses data from various state agencies and produces a list of potentially noncompliant employers ranked in terms of priority. NETS went online April 14, 2014.
As part of a proactive enforcement operation in Guilford County using NETS, The North Carolina Industrial Commission identified five employers who have failed to maintain Workers’ Compensation Insurance. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires that all businesses which employ three or more employees, including those operating as corporations, sole proprietorships, limited liability companies and partnerships, obtain workers’ compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers for purposes of paying workers’ compensation benefits to their employees. The Guilford County operation took place on July 21 and 22.
“The mandate to carry workers’ compensation insurance is important to employees and employers alike,” said Andrew Heath, Chairman of the North Carolina Industrial Commission. “Employees who suffer compensable work injuries deserve the medical care they need to get back to work so they can provide for their families. For employers, workers’ compensation insurance is a business expense, and employers who unlawfully avoid coverage should not be given a competitive advantage over legitimate employers who do provide coverage.
“The proactive enforcement operation in Guilford County is an example of the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s commitment to enforcing compliance with the Workers’ Compensation Act, which will benefit workers and law abiding employers,” Heath added.
As a result of the findings, each employer was charged with one count of Failure to Maintain Workers’ Compensation Insurance in violation of North Carolina General Statute 97-94 (d). Those charged are: Andrew Joseph Kane, William Edwyn Price, Jr., Ben Wade Armfield, David Rash Thomas, Jr., and Paul Brian Talley.
The Industrial Commission initially identified 36 employers in Guilford County who met two criteria: 1. a workers’ compensation claim had been previously filed against the employer and 2. The employers were flagged by NETS as potentially not having current workers’ compensation insurance despite their past contact with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
In addition to the five charged, 19 others were determined to be in compliance, eight had gone out of business, and the investigations of four others are still pending.
The operation was led by Industrial Commission’s Chief Investigator and included all five of the Industrial Commission’s sworn law enforcement officers. It was coordinated with the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office.
If you have information regarding workers’ compensation fraud or failure to comply with the requirement to carry workers’ compensation insurance, please contact the NCIC Compliance and Fraud Investigative Division Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (888) 891-4895 or via email 24 hours a day at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the North Carolina Industrial Commission
The North Carolina Industrial Commission is an agency of the State of North Carolina created by the General Assembly in 1929 to administer the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. In 1949, the Industrial Commission was also given authority by the General Assembly to administer the Tort Claims Act. In addition the Industrial Commission also administers the Childhood Vaccine-Related Injury Act, the Law Enforcement Officers’, Firemen’s, Rescue Squad Workers’, and Civil Air Patrol Members’ Death Benefit Act, the Act to Compensate Individuals Erroneously Convicted of Felonies, and the Eugenics Compensation Program. Its mission is to ensure all parties are treated fairly and equally in accordance with North Carolina State Law.