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Commercial Subcontractor Charged for Worker Misclassification and Perjury

The owner of a commercial subcontracting company which specializes in metal studs, drywall, and acoustical ceilings was arraigned last month on workplace misclassification violations and perjury charges for lying to a grand jury about them.  He faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison with a $45,000 fine, if convicted.

According to an article by Anthony Salamone in The Morning Call, a daily newspaper serving eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, Mark J. White, owner of Salukas & White Contracting Inc. located in Bethlehem, PA was found by a Northampton County grand jury to have violated PA’s Construction Workplace Misclassification Act by “misclassifying workers as independent subcontractors – instead of employees – to avoid paying fair wages as well as taxes and workers' benefits such as unemployment insurance.”

The article goes on to report:

“In addition, the grand jury found that from 2011 through 2013, White and the company funneled nearly $900,000 to individuals, one of whom was described as a middleman, who ‘acted as ATM machines’ in paying those workers off the books.  The actions defrauded the state and other entities of thousands of dollars in taxes, authorities allege.

“Neither White nor Fitzpatrick [White’s attorney] answered questions before the arraignment, and they left court immediately afterward.  Fitzpatrick, who said he represents both White and the company, told The Morning Call earlier that White ‘emphatically denies’ the accusations and White intends to present his side during trial.”

As the problem of wage theft and worker misclassification spreads across the construction and other industries, more and more states are recognizing the need not only for laws against these injustices, but of serious enforcement of those laws to crack down on this cancer to our industry.