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February 14, 2006
Employer Sees Jail Time for Failing to Pay Workers' Comp Premiums

An employer in Oak Harbor, Washington, has been sentenced to spend two days in jail for failing to have a workers' compensation account and pay premiums.

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Mark Dahl, owner of Catalina Marine Services Inc., pleaded guilty to a Class C Felony in January. On February 3, Island County Superior Court Judge Alan R. Hancock sentenced Dahl to two days in jail and 28 days of home monitoring, and ordered him to pay $76,885 in premiums and penalties.

The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) began an investigation after receiving a workers' compensation claim from an employee of Catalina Marine Services. L&I says it started an audit after determining it had no open account for a company with that name.

L&I alleged that Dahl had 14 employees and failed to pay workers' compensation premiums from October 2003 through June 2005. L&I also also accused Dahl of presenting false records during the audit.

"This is not a victimless crime," says Carl Hammersburg, manager of L&I's Fraud Prevention and Compliance Program. "Failing to open an L&I account and pay premiums is illegal, and honest employers suffer for it. They face unfair competition and higher rates when their competitors don't pay into the workers' compensation system."

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