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St. Louis employers
ordered incarcerated for failing to comply with US Department of
Labor's OSHA citations and court sanctions
The U.S. Department of
Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced
the arrest of Brian Andre, former owner of Andre Tuckpointing and
Brickwork, and Regina Shaw, owner of Andre Stone & Mason Work
Inc., the successor company to Andre Tuckpointing and Brickwork. The
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ordered their arrest and
incarceration for repeatedly failing to comply with court sanctions
enforcing OSHA citations that had become final orders of the
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The two were taken
into custody today by authorities.
The order for
incarceration stems from Mr. Andre and Ms. Shaw's failure to comply
with sanctions ordered by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals,
following the court's initial ruling of contempt against Andre and
Shaw in January 2010.
expose workers to hazards and blatantly ignore OSHA citations will
not be allowed to escape their responsibility of keeping workers safe
– or sanctions levied against them for failing to do so," said
Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo.
OSHA issued numerous
citations from June 2003 to the present, to both the original company
and its successor, for willful, repeat and serious violations related
to fall hazards, scaffolding erection deficiencies, power tool
guarding and other hazards in connection with multiple St. Louis-area
projects. When the companies failed to comply with the court's 11(b)
order enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Review
Commission's final orders, the Labor Department's Office of the
Solicitor filed petitions for contempt.
As a result, a special
master of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found Brian Andre,
Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc. and Regina Shaw in contempt, and
ordered various sanctions including requiring them to pay outstanding
penalties, continually accruing interest and new balance damen other miscellaneous fees
in the current amount of $258,582. Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc.
and Regina Shaw must pay a $100 daily penalty, calculated from the
time of default in early 2008 on the Occupational Safety and Health
Review Commission's final orders. Andre Stone & Mason Work Inc.
must provide OSHA weekly notification of all current jobs and known
future jobs at least 72 hours prior to commencement of work for a
period of three years. The company also must provide training to all
persons currently and subsequently designated as jobsite "competent
persons" prior to beginning any work and provide the department
with records of such training.
TAX CASE LEADS TO
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FRAUD ARREST
A Bronx bookkeeper was
arrested Wednesday after her prosecution for federal income tax fraud
led to the discovery that she had illegally collected more than
$135,000 in New York State workers’ compensation benefits.
Rosa Rivera, 62, began
collecting $400 a week in benefits after claiming that she injured a
knee, elbow and ankle while working as a bookkeeper in 2002. Then she
opened an income tax service business out of her home. At the same
time, she filed routine reports with the state Workers’
Compensation Board stating that her physical condition prevented her
In 2005, Rivera was
arrested by federal authorities and pleaded guilty to income tax
fraud, admitting that she helped customers claim overstated or
fictional expenses and deductions.
The New York State
Insurance Fund discovered she had been improperly collecting workers’
compensation lost wage benefits while she was being investigated by
federal authorities for tax fraud.
Rivera was arrested
after an investigation by the New York State Insurance Department’s
Frauds Bureau, the Insurance Fund and the Economic Crimes Bureau of
the office of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota.
If she is convicted,
she could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison for workers’
compensation fraud. A hearing will be held in Suffolk County Court.
Clinical Counselor Pleads Guilty to $82,500 Health Care Fraud
Department of Insurance, Findlay Police Department and Hancock County
Prosecutor’s Office Partner in Investigation of John Blain
COLUMBUS — Ohio
Department of Insurance Director Mary Jo Hudson announced that a
joint investigation by the Ohio Department of Insurance, the Findlay
Police Department and the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office has
led to a guilty plea by former Findlay-area clinical counselor John
Blain Frankenburg, 50, also known as Blain J. Frankenburg, for
fraudulently billing two insurance companies more than $82,500.
Frankenburg is scheduled to be sentenced January 27, 2011 in Hancock
County Common Pleas Court.
received a complaint in October 2009 that alleged Frankenburg was
seeing patients and billing insurance companies for services he
provided although he was no longer licensed to perform such services
in the state. In 2004, the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Worker,
and Marriage and Family Therapist Board suspended Frankenburg’s
license for three years after it was alleged he had a sexual
relationship with a patient. He voluntarily surrendered his license
in 2007 after he failed to meet the terms of the consent agreement he
signed in 2004.
Frankenburg pled guilty
to one count of insurance fraud on December 6, 2010 for fraudulently
billing the insurance companies from 2004 to 2009.
Department's OSHA proposes $51,000 in fines against David H. Koch
Theater in New York for asbestos, fall and crushing hazards
NEW YORK – The U.S.
Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration
has cited the David H. Koch Theater, located at the Lincoln Center
for the Performing Arts in Manhattan, for alleged repeat and serious
violations of workplace health and safety standards. The theater
faces a total of $51,000 in proposed fines, chiefly for asbestos,
fall and crushing hazards identified during an OSHA inspection
prompted by worker complaints.
OSHA's inspection found
that employees of the theater and of outside contractors had not been
informed of the presence of asbestos-containing and potentially
asbestos-containing materials in the theater's promenade area and in
nearby electrical closets. The materials had not been labeled and
asbestos warning signs had not been posted.
In addition, an exit
door was stuck and unable to be used, and a portable fire
extinguisher was not mounted. As these conditions were similar to
those cited by OSHA during a 2009 inspection of the theater, they
resulted in the agency issuing the theater four repeat citations with
$45,000 in proposed fines. A repeat violation is issued when an
employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar
violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other
facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
"The recurrence of
these conditions is disturbing," said Kay Gee, OSHA's Manhattan
area director. "For the health and safety of its employees as
well as outside contractors, the theater must take effective steps to
identify and permanently eliminate these and other hazards identified
during this latest OSHA inspection."
OSHA also found that,
due to a lack of guarding, theater employees were exposed to falls
into the orchestra pit when the stage was raised above the pit, and
to being struck or crushed by the stage when it descended into the
pit. These conditions, plus the use of temporary wiring in place of
permanent lighting in the promenade area, resulted in OSHA also
issuing the theater three serious citations with $6,000 in proposed
fines. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial
probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a
hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"One means of
eliminating hazards such as these is for employers to establish an
illness and injury prevention program, in which workers and
management jointly work to identify and eliminate hazardous
conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's
regional administrator in New York.
TROY WOMAN AGREES TO
PAY $33,000 IN RESTITUTION
A Troy woman who was
seriously injured when she crashed her car into an unoccupied house
admitted Monday that she lied about the accident so she could get
insurance benefits to pay for medical expenses and lost wages.
Heidi Laviolette, 42,
pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in Rensselaer County Court.
She agreed to make
restitution of $33,000 to Geico Insurance Company, receive drug
rehabilitation treatment and obtain employment. She could be
sentenced to up to seven years in prison if she fails to satisfy the
conditions imposed by the court.
Laviolette suffered a
broken ankle, a fractured rib and a collapsed lung when she crashed
her car late on the night of Nov. 13, 2008 in Sand Lake in Rensselaer
She obtained no-fault
insurance benefits from Geico after claiming she was a passenger when
the accident occurred and not the driver. Under most no-fault
policies, a person is ineligible for benefits if driving while being
intoxicated or impaired contributed to the cause of an accident.
New York State
Insurance Department Frauds Bureau investigators later determined
that she had, in fact, been the driver of the car and was intoxicated
when the accident occurred.
US Department of
Labor's OSHA fines Hondo, Texas, beverage distributor more than
$52,000 for failing to provide forklift training to workers
HONDO, Texas – The
U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health
Administration has cited Frio Distributing Co. with one alleged
willful, nine alleged serious and two alleged other-than-serious
violations following a safety and health inspection at the company's
facility in Hondo. Proposed penalties total $52,250.
jeopardized the safety of its workers by failing to provide forklift
training," said Jeff Funke, OSHA's area director in San Antonio,
Texas. "It's imperative that employers adhere to OSHA's safety
and health standards to prevent injuries and fatalities by properly
training their workers."
OSHA began its
inspection on Sept. 10 at the company's facility at 509 Carter and
cited the employer with a willful violation for failing to properly
train workers in the use of forklifts. A willful violation is one
committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the
law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and
The serious violations
pertain to failing to provide guardrails on elevated working areas;
failing to provide proper housekeeping by placing miscellaneous items
on the stairway, creating a trip hazard; and electrical deficiencies,
including lack of enclosures or guards to prevent damage to
electrical components, exposed live conductors, and blocked and
unlabeled electrical disconnects. OSHA issues a serious citation when
there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm
could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should
violations were cited for failing to record injuries in the OSHA 300
log and to keep fire exits clear. An other-than-serious violation is
one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but
probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OFFICER ARRESTED FOR
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION FRAUD
A Greene County man
employed as a corrections officer and part-time police officer has
been arrested for fraudulently accepting $34,000 in workers’
The New York State
Insurance Department reported that Kevin Schwebke, 26, of First
Street, Catskill, was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge of
workers’ compensation fraud.
collecting workers’ compensation benefits in 2009 after suffering
job-related ankle injuries while working as a corrections officer at
the Coxsackie Correctional Facility. During the same time period, he
was employed as a part-time police officer with the Town of Cairo
Schwebke is accused of
accepting workers’ compensation lost wage benefits and falsely
stating that his physical condition left him unable to work while he
continued working as a police officer. The police department was
unaware he was collecting the benefits.
If he is convicted,
Schwebke could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. He was
released pending action in Albany County Court.
"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
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