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NJ Business Owner Sentenced to Jail for Workers’ Comp Insurance Fraud

By on June 9, 2014 in Key Defenses with 2 Comments

New Jersey has a strong fraud statute, and it applies both to employees and employers.  Most of the cases that have been highlighted in this blog have concerned employees.  However, in a recent development, a Spring Lake, New Jersey man, was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 150 days of community service, and three years of probation, for workers’ compensation fraud.  He was also ordered to pay full restitution for his participation in third degree insurance fraud.

Charles Kelcy Pegler Sr., 56, was the President of a roofing company called Roof Diagnostics, Inc. (“RDI”), which was located in Wall Township, N.J. As president of the company, which employs nearly 400 people, Pegler indicated in his application for insurance to New Jersey Casualty Insurance Company that RDI was not a roofing company, that RDI did not employ roofers, and that its employees did not engage in the repair or maintenance of roofs.  The facts were otherwise.  Between June 11, 2003 and October 5, 2009, RDI paid $265,044 less in workers’ compensation insurance premiums than the company would have paid had Pegler accurately represented the nature of the business.

Additionally, Pegler falsely represented the nature of RDI’s business to USF Insurance Company, currently named Atain Insurance Company, claiming that all roofing services performed by RDI were carried out by subcontractors. RDI thereby avoided $134,087 in general liability insurance premiums that it legally owed to USF.

Pegler was charged on December 19, 2013 in a State Grand Jury indictment and entered a guilty plea on April 17, 2014 before the Honorable Anthony J. Mellaci of the Superior Court of New Jersey. The Acting Attorney General, John J. Hoffman, made the following comments:

This defendant had a legal and moral obligation to provide full and adequate workers’ compensation insurance coverage for his employees. By failing in this duty, Mr. Pegler defrauded not just his employees and his insurance company, but also honest, hard-working New Jerseyans who are forced to pay increased premiums to cover the costs of the fraud.

New Jersey’s Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi warned, “The jail time imposed upon this defendant should act as a deterrent to anyone who fails to provide adequate and lawful workers’ compensation insurance.”  He added, “Such frauds will not be tolerated and will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

This case serves as a clear reminder to employers that misrepresenting the nature of one’s business to lower workers’ compensation costs constitutes fraud and will be strongly penalized.


About the Author

About the Author:

John H. Geaney, a shareholder and co-chair of Capehart Scatchard's Workers' Compensation department, began an email newsletter entitled Currents in Workers’ Compensation, ADA and FMLA in 2001 in order to keep clients and readers informed on leading developments in these three areas of law. Since that time he has written over 500 newsletter updates.

Mr. Geaney is the author of Geaney’s New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Manual for Practitioners, Adjusters & Employers. The manual is distributed by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE). He also authored an ADA and FMLA manual as distributed by NJICLE. If you are interested in purchasing the manual, please contact NJICLE at 732-214-8500 or visit their website at www.njicle.com.

Mr. Geaney represents employers in the defense of workers’ compensation, ADA and FMLA matters. He is a Fellow of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers of the American Bar Association and is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a workers’ compensation law attorney. He is one of two firm representatives to the National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network. He has served on the Executive Committee of Capehart Scatchard for over ten (10) years.

A graduate of Holy Cross College summa cum laude, Mr. Geaney obtained his law degree from Boston College Law School. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by his peers and Law and Politics. He serves as Vice President of the Friends of MEND, the fundraising arm of a local charitable organization devoted to promoting affordable housing.

Capehart Scatchard is a full service law firm with offices in Mt. Laurel and Trenton, New Jersey. The firm represents employers and businesses in a wide variety of areas, including workers’ compensation, civil litigation, labor, environmental, business, estates and governmental affairs.


There Are 2 Brilliant Comments

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  1. DWC Exchange says:

    It’s good that you are also highlighting employer’s frauds regarding worker’s compensation. Good effort, it will definitely help in creating awareness among other employers and they’ll be careful regarding employees rights.

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