According to the Department of Labor and Industries, the owner-operator of a now closed auto repair and customization shop has been sentenced to 30 days of electronic home surveillance for his role in a car accident insurance scam. work.
Rod’s Cars is now listed as closed
Clearwater’s longtime boutique was well known in the Tri-Cities. L&I and court records indicate that owner Rodney Eugene Dietrich, 47, had operated Rod’s Cars in one form or another since 2004 at 3929 West Clearwater.
However, L&I released a statement on Monday, July 25, saying Dietrich recently pleaded guilty to a felony charge for failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance for his employees for the second time.
The most recent incident happened between 2017 and 2019 when an investigation showed he employed two men at the shop. One told investigators he was paid undeclared, the other traded his labor for auto parts and other items.
History of workers’ compensation issues
L&I said Dietrich had previously had problems with workers’ health insurance. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for the same issues. According to L&I:
“Dietrich has operated the auto shop at the same location since at least 2004. However, he changed his 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’ compensation insurance on all three business entities, which meant it could no longer hire employees. Despite the dismissals, an L&I investigation in 2014 found that he employed at least two workers in the shop.”
This led to the 2016 issue. Then, in 2017, L&I officials again noticed evidence of multiple workers in the shop, leading to the latest investigation.
Labor and Industries said in addition to the charges, Dietrich “Owes L&I more than $40,000 in late payment, 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.”
Dietrich recently pleaded guilty in Benton-Franklin Superior Court to the most recent charge. Several internet business searches now list the business as permanently closed, and another business has opened a shop there.