Illinois Workersâ€™ Compensation Commission finds Ghosien European Auto Werks failed to obtain workersâ€™ compensation insurance
CHICAGO, ILÂ â€”Â The Illinois Workerâ€™s Compensation (IWCC), in conjunction with the Cook County Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s Office Special Prosecutions Division and the Cook County Sheriffâ€™s Office, has secured the first felony conviction for failure to secure workersâ€™ compensation insurance.Â
Mr. Ahmed Ghosien, d/b/a Ghosien European Auto Werks, refused to comply with Illinois law despite having been given several opportunities to become compliant.Â After aggressive enforcement efforts, on July 25, 2013, Mr. Ghosien entered a guilty plea to the Class 4 felony (People v. Ahmed Ghosien, 12 CR 20949).Â This is the first felony conviction against an employer for failure to obtain workersâ€™ compensation insurance since the penalty increase, from a misdemeanor to a Class 4 felony, was introduced in 2005 and remained a critical part of Gov. Quinnâ€™s reforms to the Workerâ€™s Compensation Act in 2011.
â€œEmployers who refuse to obtain workersâ€™ 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,â€ said Michael P. Latz, Chairman, Illinois Workersâ€™ Compensation Commission.Â â€œI commend the diligence of our investigators and this cooperative effort to help protect workers.â€
Mr. Ghosien operates a large European auto repair shop at 4001 1/2Â Southwest Highway, in Hometown, Illinois. Â IWCC found that Mr. Ghosien had never obtained workersâ€™ compensation insurance for mechanics working at the repair shop.Â IWCC served Mr. Ghosien a Notice of Non-Compliance in March, 2010 and on April 16, 2010, he secured the required insurance. Â IWCC also issued a fine for non-compliance against Mr. Ghosien, who signed a settlement agreement on July 13, 2010 agreeing to pay a fine amount of $25,000. Â Under the terms of the settlement agreement, he was to pay his fine at the rate of $5,000 per month for five months starting August, 2010.
However, Mr. Ghosien failed to make any of the agreed upon payments.Â Additionally, Mr. Ghosienâ€™s workersâ€™ compensation insurance was cancelled in December 2011 for non-payment of premium.Â Despite the IWCCâ€™s numerous attempts to bring Mr. GhoseinÂ into compliance, he refused to get workersâ€™ compensation insurance or pay his fine to the Commission. Â Mr. Ghosien finally secured a new workersâ€™ compensation policy in February, 2013, but only after he learned of the criminal indictment. Â
The IWCCâ€™s Insurance Compliance Unit, the Cook County Sheriffâ€™s Office and the Cook County Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s Special Prosecutions Division worked together to secure a felony indictment against Mr. Ghosien on November 7, 2012, for violation of 820 ILCS 305/4(d). Â The case was continued several times. Â On July 25, 2013, Mr. Ghosien entered a guilty plea to the Class 4 felony.Â Mr. Ghosien is required to return to court in October 2013 for sentencing, pursuant to the plea agreement and to pay a fine of $25,000.