Inspector General Lucy Lang announced last week the arrest of two Tioga County-based contractors who allegedly failed to maintain workers’ compensation insurance at three construction projects in Apalachin – potentially putting their employees and clients at risk.
Robert Peretore, age 37, and Jeremy W. Hall, age 41, both of Apalachin, were arraigned in Owego Town Court before the Hon. John P. Schumacher.
Peretore was charged with two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree (E Felony), two counts of Fraudulent Practices (E Felony), and one count of Failure to Secure Compensation (Misdemeanor).
Hall was charged with one count of Offering to a False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree, one count of Fraudulent Practices, and one count of Failure to Secure Compensation.
An investigation by the Office of the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General found that Peretore and Hall, sometimes operating under the business name T&R Contracting Services, LLC, submitted building permits to the Town of Owego between October 2020 and April 2021 for three separate construction projects. In the permits, the pair claimed that they did not need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance because they had no employees.
According to the report received by the Inspector General, Peretore and Hall were found to have employed workers on the projects, but failed to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.
The projects included construction of a storage shed, repair of a collapsed barn, and installation of a roof and siding on a home, according to the report.
New York State Workers’ Compensation Law requires all contractors to carry workers compensation insurance for their employees. Failing to carry insurance for more than five employees is considered a felony in New York State.
“Business owners must provide legally required workers’ compensation insurance for their workers, or they will be held accountable,” said Inspector General Lang, adding, “Putting workers at risk to save a buck is unacceptable in New York State.”
The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General investigates fraud, abuse and/or illegal acts against the New York State Workers’ Compensation system, including fraud by medical service providers, employers seeking to evade appropriate Workers’ Compensation charges, and employees who fabricate injuries to fraudulently receive system benefits. Complaints and referrals are confidential. The Office of the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General can be reached at 1-800-367-4448, www.ig.ny.gov, or via email to email@example.com.
Inspector General Lang thanked the Tioga County District Attorney for prosecuting the case and the New York State Police for conducting the arrest. The investigation was handled by Attorney-In-Charge for Workers’ Compensation Fraud Bryan Richmond, and Chief of Investigations for the Upstate Regional Office Sherry Amarel.
As a reminder, the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.