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Ill. employer lacking workers comp cover convicted of felony

Ill. employer lacking workers comp cover convicted of felony

Illinois said it has won its first felony conviction of an employer for failing to obtain workers compensation insurance as mandated by state law.

The state raised the penalty in 2005 for failure to obtain workers comp insurance from a misdemeanor to a felony.

On Thursday, the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission announced the conviction of Ahmed Ghosien, who operates a large auto repair shop, Ghosien European Auto Werks, in Hometown.

He never obtained the insurance for his mechanics despite the state's attempts since 2010 to bring him into compliance, the IWCC said in a statement. Mr. Ghosien purchased coverage in February this year after learning of a criminal indictment against him, IWCC said.

Mr. Ghosien pleaded guilty to the felony charge July 25 in Cook County Circuit Court. He faces sentencing in October and is to pay a $25,000 fine.

“Employers who refuse to obtain workers compensation insurance put their employees at risk, gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding competitors and ultimately shift the cost of their business to Illinois taxpayers,” IWCC Chairman Michael P. Latz said in the statement.