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Defendant illegally took more than $400,000 cash from former employees over a 10-year period 

BECKLEY, W.Va. – U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin today announced that a Beckley man was sentenced to two years in federal prison for requiring illegal kickbacks from former employees.  Alfred Williams, 72, a former operator of Beckley-based Williams Mechanical, Inc., previously pleaded guilty in June.  Williams admitted that for approximately 10 years, he routinely required at least one-third of his employees to return cash to him from their paychecks as a condition of their continued employment with the company.  Williams further admitted that throughout the illegal scheme, he received between $600 and $1,000 cash each week from the employees. 

At the time of the defendant’s illegal scheme, Williams Mechanical, Inc. performed work as a plumbing sub-contractor for numerous public works projects that were financed with government funds.  According to state and federal law, the company was required to compensate employees with prevailing wages and report the wages paid on certified payrolls. The prevailing wage established by the government is an hourly wage, which also includes benefits and overtime compensation for particular work performed.  Williams admitted that he was aware of the legal requirements, yet failed to meet those obligations. The defendant also admitted that he required employees to return cash to him from their paychecks, which hid the fact that he was paying less than the prevailing wage.  Also, during the scheme, Williams misreported the hours employees actually worked and paid them based upon improper job classifications.

In 1998, the West Virginia Division of Labor forced Williams to pay 13 employees more than $25,000 for failure to pay prevailing wages to which they were entitled.   The defendant agreed to pay restitution of up to $520,000 at his June plea hearing.

The U.S. Department of Labor conducted the investigation, with assistance from the West Virginia Division of Labor.  Assistant United States Attorney Hunter P. Smith handled the prosecution.  The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Irene C. Berger.

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