Workers' Compensation Violations Lead to Felony Charges

Three Pennsylvania employers who failed to properly fund their workers' compensation programs pled guilty to felony counts of failure to ensure the workers' compensation liability of their businesses in violation of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act.

According to Pennsylvania Labor and Industry Secretary Johnny J. Butler, Section 305 of the act specifics that an employer's failure to ensure the workers' compensation liability of their business is a criminal offense, and each day's violation is considered a separate offense. If the violation was intentional, it is a third-degree felony. If it was not intentional, then it is a third-degree misdemeanor.

Choe Hwan Young, owner of Choe Young Auto in Wexford, was sentenced in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, pleading guilty to 431 third-degree felony counts. Judge David R. Cashman placed Young on 15 years' probation, ordered him to pay the costs of prosecution and a monthly administrative fee, and ordered restitution of $88,481.46 for injuries sustained by his employee.

Paul M. Kurtz, owner of P&L Kurtz Inc. in Denver, was sentenced in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas. He was placed on two years' probation, ordered to pay fines of $2,817.41 and perform 50 hours of community service. He was placed in the county's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program for first-time offenders.

John Passalis, owner of Stavros K. Pizza Inc., Philadelphia, was sentenced in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas after pleading guilty to 35 third-degree felony counts. Judge Joan A. Brown placed Passalis on seven years' probation and ordered restitution of $35,000 for injuries sustained by his employee. Stavros K. Pizza currently is in compliance with the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act.

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