Albany contractor accused of failing to provide workers’ comp insurance

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ALBANY — The owner of an Albany-based construction company has been charged with a felony for a repeat offense of failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance during a job at the University at Albany, according to the state Inspector General’s office. The man was previously convicted of failing to secure insurance during a roofing job in Amsterdam in 2019.

Leroy Nelson, Jr., 41, owner of J.R.N. Construction, was charged with a class D felony for violating a section of state Workers’ Compensation Law in Albany City Court on Monday. Nelson is accused of failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance for six J.R.N Construction employees working on a project at SUNY Albany after Nov. 22, 2020.

“Having adequate workers’ compensation insurance is not only the right thing to do for your employees, but it’s also the law,” state Inspector General Lucy Lang said in a prepared statement. “If a worker had been injured in this instance, the worker and the state potentially bear the responsibility for medical bills, and lost time.”

Nelson failed to make required contributions to the state Unemployment Insurance Fund in violation of state Labor laws from Jan. 1, 2019 through Jan. 31, 2021, according to an affidavit filed with charging documents in Albany City Court that were obtained by The Recorder.

Over $1,800 in insurance contributions should have been collected for wages paid to employees of J.R.N. Construction. The employees were allegedly omitted from quarterly wage statements filed with the state.

The charge filed this week was elevated to a class D felony due to Nelson’s prior conviction for a misdemeanor charge of failing to secure workers’ compensation insurance in 2019.

In that case, the Inspector General’s Office initially charged Nelson with first-degree offering a false instrument as part of a workers’ compensation fraud scheme.

Another construction company without insurance had its application for a building permit for a roofing project on Pulaski Street denied by the Amsterdam Building Department. Afterwards, Nelson applied for and was granted the required permit, yet the other company actually completed the work.

Nelson also previously pleaded guilty to a forged instrument count related to a falsified certificate of workers’ compensation insurance in 2016.

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