Washington State Contractor Sentenced in Wage Theft Case

Alejandro Sandoval and his company, Sandoval Construction, were sentenced after pleading guilty to false reporting and first-degree theft. Sandoval Construction has been ordered to reimburse the workers for their unpaid wages, and Sandoval will be responsible for unpaid workers' comp insurance payments to the state. Under separate civil proceedings, he also owes L&I at least $197,000 in unpaid premiums, interest, and penalties.

A Maple Valley, Wash., contractor and his company must pay back more than $25,000 in unpaid wages in addition to unreported workers' compensation insurance after a joint investigation by the state attorney general's office and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), they announced July 27. Alejandro Sandoval and his company, Sandoval Construction, were sentenced that day in King County Superior Court after pleading guilty to false reporting and first-degree theft.

As part of the plea deal, Sandoval Construction has been ordered to reimburse the workers for their unpaid wages, and Sandoval will be responsible for unpaid workers' comp insurance payments to the state. Under separate civil proceedings, he also owes L&I at least $197,000 in unpaid premiums, interest, and penalties.

"Wage theft is a crime, and as long as I'm attorney general, those that steal from their workers will be prosecuted," Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. "Thanks to the coordinated efforts of my office and L&I, these workers will be paid for their work."

"People work hard and deserve to be paid fully and on time," agreed L&I Director Joel Sacks. "Teaming up with the attorney general gives us the extra hammer of criminal prosecution to collect wages for workers and reduce workers' comp costs for employers."

L&I enforces workplace rights and administers the state workers' compensation insurance system. The AG's office began its criminal investigation in this cas during 2016 after L&I received complaints from a dozen workers for Sandoval and his company. They claimed Sandoval Construction had not paid them $25,620 in wages that they were owed.

Sandoval pleaded guilty to one count of Employer's False Reporting or Failure to Secure Payment of Compensation in June. On July 27, he was sentenced to 30 days electronic home monitoring and must pay $200 in fines, penalties, costs, and fees.

According to his office's news release, this case is part of Ferguson's larger Worker Protection Initiative to protect workers from unfair or illegal treatment in the workplace.

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