Mining firm sentenced in workers’ comp scheme

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Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from It struck me to see this because of how West Virginia has recently been in the news for contaminated drinking water. Do I think this state is in worse shape or more corrupt than any other state? Probably not. Do I think that investigators in this state are more diligent than other states? Possibly, but also unlikely.

The story should be a wake-up call for employers who know they’re defrauding the system, because in the long term, society suffers. This story makes for interesting reading and an opportunity to think about how some folks will always take advantage of a situation to profit and have no qualms about doing something illegal, even when it potentially puts other people and their families in danger. This scam definitely put workers in danger so businesses could avoid the cost of workers’ compensation premiums. But what about the workers? If someone were hurt on the job and they thought their employer had workers’ comp coverage but didn’t, that cost either has to be absorbed by the workers and their loved ones, or, more likely, by taxpayers. And that’s one reason that it’s so important for officials to be willing to diligently investigate situations like the one described below. Because it not only helps keep workers safe, but in the long run, also saves taxpayers money and benefits society.

Today’s post is shared from

Leads continue to develop out of an investigation into a multimillion-dollar scheme aimed at lowering workers’ compensation premiums for contract firms that provided workers to some of the state’s largest coal producers, an assistant U.S. Attorney said Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge John Copenhaver said the “scam here has been extraordinary” before sentencing Aracoma Contracting LLC to three years probation and ordering restitution be paid.

The scheme involved former BrickStreet Mutual Insurance Co. auditor, Arville Sargent, who took bribes to help contract companies save millions in workers’ compensation premiums by paying workers in cash and falsifying payroll records.

It involved four mining contract firms  — Aracoma Contracting LLC, Christian Contracting, T&W Services LLC, and Newhall Contracting. The companies were controlled by Jerome Eddie Russell, Frelin Workman and his son, Randy Workman.

The four companies were “employee leasing” services that supplied miners for coal companies, including Alpha Natural Resources and Patriot Coal, under arrangements common in the state’s mining industry.

Acting on behalf of Aracoma, its principals Russell, 50, of Williamson and Frelin R. Workman, 58, of Belfrey, Ky., formed a relationship with the Bank of Mingo, and one of its employees at the bank’s Williamson branch.

Aracoma, Sargent and Workman must jointly pay back about $4.7 million in restitution. Aracoma must also…

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The offices of Rehm, Bennett, Moore & Rehm, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

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