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J & C Contracting owners plead guilty to underreporting workers

FRANKLIN COUNTY – Husband and wife business owners Clemente Ezquivel, 51, and Rosalva Ezquivel, 46, have agreed to pay the Department of Labor & Industries $258,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to intentionally false reporting their business’ employees by paying them “under the table.”

The Ezquivel’s owned J & C Contracting, LLC, an Eastern Washington business that contracts labor workers to vegetable farmers in Othello and Pasco.

L&I began investigating J & C Contracting in 2007, after an anonymous tip alleged the company was maintaining two sets of books to dodge paying industrial insurance premiums. L&I’s investigation revealed the Ezquivels intentionally failed to report 1,564 workers between July 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006.

The Ezquivels must also serve 45 days on a Department of Corrections work crew. They were sentenced in Franklin County Superior Court on November 2.

J & C Contracting has since stopped operating.

“This is a staggering case of an employer taking advantage of workers to line their own pockets,” said Carl Hammersburg, L&I Fraud Prevention and Compliance Program Manager. “Honest employers are the ones that pick up the tab when dishonest employers commit this type of fraud.”

L&I’s fraud Web site, www.Fraud.Lni.wa.gov, includes an online form for reporting fraud. Anyone who suspects fraud may also call L&I’s fraud hotline at 1-888-811-5974.

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For media information: Selena Davis, L&I, 360-902-6878.

Broadcast version: The owners of J & C Contracting in Eastern Washington have pled guilty to intentionally false reporting their employees to dodge paying industrial insurance premiums. Husband and wife business owners Clemente Ezquivel, 51, and Rosalva Ezquivel, 46, have agreed to pay the Department of Labor & Industries $258,000 in restitution after an L&I investigation revealed they intentionally failed to report 1564 of their workers between July 1, 2005 through December 31, 2006. The Ezquivels must also serve 45 days on a Department of Corrections work crew. They were sentenced in Franklin County Superior Court on November 2.

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