A Marion employer who allowed his workers’ compensation policy to lapse and claimed his employees were subcontractors has been sentenced for failing to comply with the law. Lakhvir S. Sidhu, owner of Liverpool Express, was sentenced Dec. 7 after he failed to cooperate with attempts by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to help him obtain proper coverage.
“BWC makes good faith attempts to work with businesses to bring them into compliance, but has no choice but to pursue fraud charges when our efforts are ignored,” said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. “Businesses with employees must comply with the law and maintain workers’ comp coverage to protect their workforce.”
BWC’s Employer Compliance Department first attempted to work with Sidhu to bring his policy into compliance but investigators with the agency’s Special Investigations Department opened a fraud investigation after Sidhu did not cooperate.
An audit on the business showed Sidhu was paying wages to employees he claimed were subcontractors. Investigators interviewed Sidhu on several occasions regarding the lapsed policy and the requirement to report wages for his employees. After meeting with agents, Sidhu paid his past due premiums, although he still claimed the workers were subcontractors. The investigation later revealed that Sidhu reported employee wages to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services that totaled $266,000 more than the wages he reported to BWC for the same time period.
The matter was then reviewed by the Marion City Law Directors office after Sidhu failed to enter into a payment plan and/or file the additional payroll information as requested by agents. He was convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor count of failure to comply with the law and was ordered to pay restitution in amount of $3,724.77, and comply with BWC regulations and Ohio laws. Sidhu must also pay fines totaling $400 and serve 90 days of incarceration, suspended for two years community control.