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Southwest Missouri News--Joplin

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by Carol Harris, Branson area, and Marti Attoun, Joplin area

Stephen L. Hill, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced Jan. 20 that the former co-owner of a now-defunct Joplin company was indicted for allegedly filing false reports that may have resulted in the loss of more than $14,000 in labor union contributions for his employees.

Harold H. Knight III, 42, of Joplin, is charged with 10 counts of filing false union employer's remittance reports. Knight is the former co-owner of TriState Painting and Wallcovering Company, a Joplin company that ceased business in early 1997, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas C. Bunch, the prosecutor in the case, in a release from Hill's office.

According to the indictment, on various occasions between October 1995 and February 1997, Knight filed a series of false monthly reports to Local 203 of the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades Union, located in Springfield.

The indictment alleges that the reports were false because they understated TriState's contributions to two union employee benefit plans: the IBPAT Pension Plan and the Local 203 Health and Welfare Fund, the release stated.

An investigation, which is still under way, indicates the alleged false reports may have resulted in losses of more than $14,000 to the union benefit plans, Bunch said.

If convicted as charged in the indictment, Knight could be subject to a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison without parole, plus up to $2.5 million in fines.

Hill cautioned that the charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor.[[In-content Ad]]

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