Auto repair

Tri-Cities Auto Repair owner caught in worker’s compensation scam for second time and pleads guilty

TUMWATER — A Kennewick business owner has pleaded guilty to a felony for failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance for his employees for the second time.

Benton-Franklin Superior Court Judge Norma Rodriguez recently sentenced Rodney Eugene Dietrich to 30 days of electronic home surveillance.

Dietrich, 47, pleaded guilty to doing business without workers’ compensation insurance, a criminal offense.

Dietrich employed two men at his auto repair shop, Rod’s Cars, in Kennewick, from November 2017 to May 2019. However, he did not provide state workers’ compensation insurance, which would help them to recover if they were injured on the job.

An employee said he was paid cash under the table. The other said he traded his job for auto parts or other items, according to an investigation by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

This is the second time Dietrich has been charged with jumping on workers’ compensation insurance. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor version of the same offence.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office prosecuted both cases based on L&I investigations.