Illegal activities of Southern Bosses for the week ending on Friday, November 17
Federal investigators have recovered $532,842 in back wages and liquidated damages from a Montgomery home healthcare business that misclassified 67 employees as independent contractors, and incurred overtime wage violations as a result.
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found Jennings Professional Services, an in-home, day and overnight healthcare provider, paid the affected employees straight-time rates for all hours worked. By doing so, the employer denied the workers — who care for sick and older adults — their additional half-time rate for overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In addition, the employer failed to keep accurate pay records as required.
In fiscal year 2022, the Wage and Hour Division concluded more than 1,100 investigations in health care industries. These investigations recovered nearly $15 million in back wages for more than 22,000 workers.
A Huntsville man who is part-owner of a Florida-based pharmacy was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for his role in a $54 million bribery and kickback scheme that targeted the government health insurance program for current and retired military members and their families, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
James Wesley Moss, 60, of Huntsville, who pleaded guilty to kickback and fraud conspiracy, among other charges, was part-owner of Florida Pharmacy Solutions, or FPS, which specialized in compound prescription drugs.
Two others -- FPS part-owner and senior sales manager David Byron Copeland, 55, of Tallahassee, Florida and FPS lead sales representative Michael Gordon, 60, of Fort Myers, Florida -- engaged in what is known as “test billing” to develop the most expensive combination of compounded drugs to maximize their reimbursement from TRICARE.
The three men and their accomplices targeted doctors who treated TRICARE beneficiaries and paid bribes and kickbacks to the physicians and salespeople to encourage the referral of prescriptions to FPS, the Justice Department said, citing court documents and evidence at trial.
The bribes included lavish hunting trips and expenses dinners. FPS employees also used “blanket letters of authorization” that allowed FPS to change prescription components to make them more profitable, the agency said.
Moss paid Copeland and Gordon millions of dollars in kickbacks based on a percentage of the amount TRICARE reimbursed for the prescriptions, which provided an incentive to seek prescriptions for the most compounded drugs possible such as pain and scar creams.
Copeland facilitated the kickbacks through companies he set up to receive and funnel the payments, the Justice Department said.
The company billed TRICARE more than $54 billion from late 2012 through mid-2015, the agency said.
Copeland received a four-year, three-month prison sentence for his role in the scheme while Gordon was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In April, co-defendant Edward Christopher White was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison after pleading guilty for his role in the scheme.
Another example of the fact that if you steal from workers, it’s a slap on the wrist at best. But if you steal from a corporation or the government? Watch out folks.
A U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety inspection at a prominent El Paso manufacturing company found the employer willfully exposed workers to the risks of amputation and permanent hearing loss and violated dozens of federal safety and health regulations.
Conducted under the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s National Emphasis Program on amputations in the manufacturing industries, the inspection at Dynamic Tool Co. Inc. identified 58 violations, including two willful safety violations and one willful health violation.
OSHA issued the willful safety citations because the company did not have machine guards in place to protect workers from the potential for amputations and other injuries related to nip points, rotating parts and flying chips and sparks. The agency issued a willful health citation for Dynamic Tool’s failure to establish and maintain an audiometric testing program and make testing available to employees exposed to excessive noise.
In addition to the willful violations, OSHA cited Dynamic Tool for the following serious violations:
Not installing lockout/tagout systems to prevent machines from sudden start-ups or movement.
Failing to train employees on energy control procedures.
Storing materials improperly and allowing blocked passageways.
Not removing unsafe powered industrial trucks from service.
Failing to enclose vertical or inclined belts and gears with required guards.
Allowing serious electrical hazards related to flexible cords, junction boxes and fitting to exist.
Not developing and implementing a noise monitoring program.
OSHA assessed Dynamic Tool with $596,221 in proposed penalties, amounts set by federal statute.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division found Green River Health District in Owensboro, KY terminated a health care worker after they exercised their right to use protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The terminated worker had worked at the company for several years prior to their taking FMLA. The DOL recovered $61,224 in back wages for the worker.
- U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found the Birmingham indoor adventure park Urban Air in Birmingham, AL allowed 36 minor-aged employees, under 16 years old, to work after 7 p.m. on a school night, after 9 p.m. in the summer, more than 3 hours on school days and more than 18 hours a week during a school week, all violations of the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The division also found that the company stole wages from an employee. The company was fined $28,476 to address child labor violations and said $145 is owed to one worker
Have a bad boss tip? Send it to: www.tvlr.fm/contact
Did you receive this from a friend? Click here to subscribe so you don't miss out!