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CAPE GIRARDEAU — The Missouri Labor Department concluded an investigation finding that Larry McElroy of Blackhawk Electric Company in Cape Girardeau violated the prevailing wage law and falsified certified payroll records.
“Failing to pay workers is shameful and illegal–but attempting to outsmart investigators with fake payroll records is a criminal maneuver that sets a bad actor apart from the rest,” says Department Director Larry Rebman.
The Department’s Division of Labor Standards (DLS) received a wage complaint from an employee alleging contractor Larry McElroy of Blackhawk Electric Company did not pay the employee and a fellow employee for work completed on the Jackson High School Addition project from December 2009, to February 2011.
DLS investigator Jerry Wolsey found that McElroy not only failed to pay the proper wages to the workers, the contractor failed to compensate the workers at all for the last month of work. Wolsey also discovered that McElroy improperly classified the two workers as independent contractors rather than employees to avoid paying taxes on their behalf.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I found out that McElroy provided me with false payrolls,” says Wolsey. “There is nothing worse than when someone tries to interfere and throw off the investigation.”
In total, McElroy owed more than $9,800 to the two workers. Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Morley Swingle filed criminal charges against McElroy for five counts of making false declarations, a class B misdemeanor. Each count could result in a sentence of up to six months in jail and up to a $500 fine. McElroy’s arraignment in county court is scheduled for September 27th.
Zoellner Construction, the general contractor for the Jackson High School Addition project, made full restitution to the workers.
For more information about prevailing wage or to view a list of prevailing wage violations, visit http://www.labor.mo.gov/DLS/PrevailingWage/pwViolations.asp. So far in 2011, the DLS received 125 prevailing wage complaints, found 82 prevailing wage violations, and helped recover $477,132 in owed wages.