A prominent Ohio businessman and former town official was convicted Wednesday of a reduced count of workers’ compensation fraud and won’t face prison time.
Craig C. Snee, 64, was found guilty Wednesday of a fourth-degree felony by a Stark County Common Pleas jury, the Akron Beacon-Journal reported. His sentencing, which could include probation, jail time or a combination of the two, is scheduled for Oct. 17.
Snee, owner of Earth 'n Wood mulch and stone products in Canton, was charged with underreporting his payroll and misclassifying workers, cheating the state-run workers' compensation system of $350,000. The business employs about 70 workers.
But jurors determined that the value of unpaid workers’ compensation premiums and assessments was between $7,500 and $150,000, resulting in the reduction from a third-degree to a fourth-degree felony.
Prosecutors said Snee underreported payroll at Earth ‘n Wood and misclassified employees, for example, saying some truck drivers were office workers. The fraud was alleged to have occurred from 2011 to 2015.
But Snee’s defense attorney said the business owner acted in response to pressure to keep the company afloat and wasn’t personally enriched by his actions.
Snee was a Jackson Township trustee in the 1980s and 1990s.
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