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Apr 02

NY factory owner where worker died is arrested

NEW YORK — The owner of a Brooklyn tortilla factory where a worker died after falling into a waist-high dough mixing machine has been arrested.

Erasmo Ponce was charged with underpaying employees, falsifying business records, violating workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance laws.

Authorities said Wednesday Ponce surrendered Tuesday and was released on bail.

According to The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/H1PvDQ ), his lawyer said he didn’t’ believe the case merited criminal prosecution.

Days after the Jan. 24, 2011, death of the worker, Juan Baten, the Tortilleria Chinantla (tor-tih-REE’-ah chee-NAHNT’-lah) was shuttered by state officials for operating without workers’ compensation insurance.

The factory eventually reopened, but last July federal authorities cited it for workplace safety violations. The most serious violation was failure to install a barrier on the mixer.

The company is contesting the citations.

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Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com

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