Helena Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Employer Misconduct

Helena Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Employer Misconduct

Helena resident Darren Booth pleaded guilty in Lewis & Clark County District Court to felony employer misconduct. Booth, owner of DB Construction, paid $10,395 in restitution to Montana State Fund at his sentencing hearing on September 10. In addition to paying restitution, the Court imposed a three-year deferred sentence, $1,000 fine, and court supervision.

In June 2015, Montana State Fund received a tip that Booth was paying his employees under the table. As a result, the workers were not covered for workers’ compensation, and Social Security taxes were not withheld from their paychecks. A Montana State Fund investigation revealed Booth filed payroll reports with the insurance company that intentionally omitted wages paid to employees and/or listed wages in class codes with less costly premium rates when they were doing work that carried higher premiums. Montana State Fund subsequently referred the allegations to the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation.

Assistant Attorneys General Mary Cochenour and Chris McConnell alleged Booth, 57, committed the offense of employer misconduct between February 27, 2014, and November 30, 2015. Booth knowingly misrepresented to Montana State Fund the number of employees he hired and their job code classifications so as to avoid paying higher premiums on workers’ compensation insurance. Montana State Fund estimated $10,395.29 in lost premiums. After initially pleading not guilty, Booth changed his plea to guilty.

“Workers’ compensation insurance is there to protect workers and their families. Fraud and willfully disregarding the law to cheat the system hurts all workers and employers,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “All employers are required to accurately represent the number of employees they have, the type of work they perform, and pay their fair share of premiums in order to make the workers’ compensation system function as intended,” Fox added.

The Special Investigations Unit at Montana State Fund appreciates and commends the work of Assistant Attorneys General Mary Cochenour and Chris McConnell, and the Division of Criminal Investigation at the Montana Department of Justice for their tenacious and collaborative work on the case.

The charging affidavit is available here.

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