Employers Beware of Fraudulent Specialty Contractor Licenses

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

Chemical processing, oil and gas transmission, and water industry employers should double-check the validity of workers’ specialty contractor licenses.

Employers in industries which use workers holding specialty contractor licenses, particularly any electrician license or explosive license appearing to have been issued in West Virginia, should verify that those licenses are valid and not fraudulent. The Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center (“PaCIC”) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) asking chemical, energy and water companies to report the discovery of fraudulent specialty contractor licenses to it at sp-protectpa@pa.gov or 1-855-772-7768.

The PaCIC reports a trend of foreign workers from Guatemala and Honduras working illegally at natural gas pipeline construction sites in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina, but while using a false address and while in possession of fraudulently obtained West Virginia specialty licenses for electrical and explosives contractor work. It suspects such workers to be in the U.S. illegally and in possession of additional types of fraudulent identifications (driver’s license, SSN, green card, or consulate IDs). Because many other states give reciprocity to West Virginia-issued specialty contractor licenses, this trend could affect companies in a broad range of industries. 

Careful inspection (and re-inspection) of these specialty worker certifications can protect employers by identifying fraudulent conduct that otherwise may endanger a worksite and surrounding areas. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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