State Orders Company To Pay For Insurance

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - An employment agency that hired two former Canton men who were arrested following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks owes the state $131,000 for unpaid workers' compensation insurance.

If HV Connect of Ohio does not respond to the audit by Feb. 1, the case will be submitted to the state attorney general, said Robert Glenn, spokesman for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

Ohio law allows the state to recover up to 10 times the amount owed, which would be $1.3 million.

The bureau began investigating HV Connect's payroll in November on the suspicion the firm underreported the number of its employees who require insurance.

HV Connect received public scrutiny after two former Canton residents who worked for the firm were arrested in Detroit. Moroccans Ahmed Hannan and Karim Koubriti (pictured, above) face trial in March or April on fraud charges for allegedly possessing phony immigration documents.

Eight other HV Connect workers living in Canton have been detained on alleged immigration violations following an FBI sweep in late September.

Tom Nguyen, CEO and president of HV Connect in Ohio, could not be reached for comment. A message seeking comment was left Wednesday at his company's New Philadelphia office.

HV Connect has supplied a labor force since early 2000 of mostly African and Asian immigrants to a chicken slaughter house in Winesburg, an egg farm south of Toledo, and a packaging company and a paper recycler in Millersburg.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)