S&S Tower Services President, Christopher Strausbaugh, entered pleas to felony offenses allegedly after defrauding an insurance company regarding employee work safety, reported WCHS-TV. S&S claimed to Brickstreet Mutual Insurance Co., now, Encova, that employees did not work higher than 15 feet from the ground.
However, in 2016, an employee working on a tower fell 105 feet to his
death, and investigations found that work was done at heights up to 400
feet above ground level. Prosecutors said the investigation determined
that S&S defrauded Brickstreet of more than $186,000 in workers’
compensation insurance premiums and the state of West Virginia more than
$16,000 in insurance taxes, per WCHS-TV.
Since Tyler Comer, 19, died while working on a project for Appalachian Wireless in Morgan County, KY, (see Inside Towers 5/26/16 story)
the state fined S&S $3,500 for violation of worker safety laws.
West Virginia prosecutors are recommending probation for Strausbaugh
plus a $1,000 fine for the corporation. Sentencing is set for December
17, and will be determined by a judge.