Auto repair

Washington Auto Repair owner caught in worker’s compensation scam for second time

A Kennewick, Washington 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 sentenced Rodney Eugene Dietrich to 30 days of electronic home surveillance, after Dietrich, 47, pleaded guilty to doing business without worker compensation.

Dietrich employed two men at his auto repair shop, Rod’s Cars, in Kennewick, from November 2017 to May 2019, but he did not provide compensation to state employees.

One employee said he was paid cash under the table, and the other said he traded his job for auto parts or other items, according to a state Department of Labor and Industries investigation. from Washington.

This is the second time Dietrich has been charged with illegal worker compensation practices. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor version of the same offence.

Dietrich has operated the auto shop at the same location since at least 2004. However, it changed its name, business structure and business license number three times after each fell behind on worker payments.

After repeated notices and warnings, L&I revoked its workers’ pay on all three business entities. Despite the dismissals, an L&I investigation in 2014 reportedly found he employed at least two workers in the shop.

In 2016, Dietrich pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of conducting business without worker compensation. In November 2017, L&I employees walking past Dietrich’s auto shop reportedly noticed that the company appeared to have workers again.

Investigators monitored the store for a year and a half and recorded Dietrich and the employees who worked there, leading to the recent criminal case.

In addition to facing the criminal case, he owes L&I more than $40,000 in late fees, interest and penalties, according to department records. He also owes more than $2,200 in wages and penalties for failing to pay an employee in 2013.

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

Washington Auto Workers Compensation

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