This morning, Missoula contractor Jared Allen Langley admitted in Lewis & Clark County District Court that the state could likely prove him guilty of felony Employer Misconduct for underpaying Montana workers’ compensation premiums for his roofing business.
In August 2012, Langley, 42, was accused of defrauding the Montana State Fund for over $200,000 in lost premiums. Langley pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of employer misconduct in District Court in Helena.
Assistant Attorney General Mary Cochenour alleged Langley lied about his roofing business to avoid paying premiums, claiming instead that his employees only cleaned up construction sites. The classification code for “clean up” carries with it lower premiums for contractors, while on average, premiums for roofing activities are approximately five times higher due to the high risk of injury. However, investigators from the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation and Montana State Fund learned that from 2007 to January 2012, Langley obtained more than 370 roofing permits. Their investigation also showed that Langley allegedly purchased $1.3 million in roofing materials in that same time frame from a Missoula roofing supply business. Meanwhile, while Langley did not pay premiums for roofing work, Langley’s employees filed injury claims that were roofing related.
“Today’s success in one of recent history’s largest State Fund fraud cases is due to the diligent efforts and teamwork of Assistant Attorney General Mary Cochenour, Division of Criminal Investigation Agent Tony Poppler, and the staff at Montana State Fund,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Workers’ compensation fraud impacts all of us by contributing to higher premium costs, which makes our state a less attractive place to conduct, start, or open a business. Working on behalf of employers, employees, and all Montanans, we take fraud seriously and will continue to prosecute it vigorously.”
As part of the plea agreement, Langley paid the Montana State Fund $200,000 in restitution in cash in June 2013. Employer Misconduct carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment in the Montana State Prison and a $50,000 fine. District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock deferred imposition of Langley’s sentence for a period of two years, subject to a number of conditions, including that Langley abide by all rules of probation and parole.