A Missoula contractor entered an Alford plea in Lewis and Clark County District Court on Thursday, asserting the state could likely prove that he was guilty of underpaying workers’ compensation premiums and scamming the government out of $200,000.

Jared Allen Langley, 42, was accused in August 2012 of lying about his roofing business to avoid paying the proper workers’ compensation premiums. Langley owns Jared Langley Enterprises – a large construction business that offers roof repair, replacement and construction in Missoula and surrounding counties.

Langley originally pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of employer misconduct but changed his plea Thursday.

According to Montana Assistant Attorney General Mary Cochenour, Langley claimed his employees only cleaned up construction sites and didn’t participate in building roofs – a job description that carries higher workers’ compensation premiums. Compared to the cleanup classification code, premiums for employees who worked on roofs are five times higher.

But an investigation conducted by the Department of Justice revealed that employees spent approximately 90 percent of their time on the roof or doing roofing activities.

Furthermore, multiple employees reported injuries stemming from working on roofs from 2009 to 2011, including several employees who listed their occupation as roofers.

According to the affidavit filed by Cochenour, Langley told an auditor that he used his employees for construction site cleanup and hired outside roofers for roofing tasks.

Langley obtained more than 370 roofing permits from Missoula city and county between 2007 and 2012.

District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock imposed a probationary sentence on Langley on Thursday, meaning that he can eventually ask the court to remove the charges from his record if he abides by the conditions of his sentence.

Langley paid the Montana State Fund $200,000 in restitution in June as part of his plea agreement.

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