Workers' Comp. Fraud Case in Montana - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Workers' Comp. Fraud Case in Montana

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MISSOULA -

A Colorado woman accepts a plea deal in a case of workers' compensation fraud in Montana.

Sandra Armstrong admitted that a jury would likely find her guilty of helping a contractor avoid paying worker's compensation premiums.

A press release from the Montana Attorney General's Office said Armstrong encouraged a contractor to require his employees file paperwork as independent contractors, rather than paying the premiums to cover his employees under the state.

The issue came to light in June of 2008 when an employee fell from a second-story truss when working on a property in Big Sky. At that time, the attorney general says, it was also discovered the worker was a Mexican citizen who was working and living illegally in the U.S.

Assistant Attorney General Mary Cochenour stated that the evidence would show that Armstrong, while operating a tax and insurance business in Colorado, assisted her client-Efrain Cruz, a contractor from Mexico-in avoiding his responsibility to provide Workers' Compensation coverage under Montana law by requiring his workers to falsify information and apply for and obtain Independent Contractor Exemption Certificates when they were, in reality, employees of the business.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Armstrong would serve an 18-month deferred sentence and pay $3,000 plus court surcharges.

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