Electrical Company Owners Swindled Employees in Minnesota

The owners of a Minnesota electrical contractor have been convicted of underpaying their employees. Two men pleaded guilty last week to felony theft by swindle over $35,000.

According to the Star Tribune, Thomas R. Clifton and Earl Standafer were owners of C&S Electric Co. In 2010, the general contractor Donlar Construction Co. hired C&S to do electrical work at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minn. The contractor submitted the low bid and said it would pay the prevailing wage.

The Star Tribune reported that from about August 2010 to the following August, C&S had 16 electricians on the site. The prevailing wage for them would have been $34.30 an hour, plus $24.20 per hour in fringe benefits. The company failed to pay into their retirement accounts, a legitimate fringe benefit C&S falsely claimed had been paid. During the construction, C&S was required to submit documents to Donlar indicating it was paying the prevailing wage, and those documents were signed by Clifton or Standafer.

Donlar Construction Co. paid the electricians’ back wages once it learned C&S had underpaid, and later sued C&S for the money. The two men were sentenced to more than 200 days in the Hennepin County workhouse and several years’ probation.

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