Owner Jailed for Lying in Wage-and-Hour Investigation

It’s rare for an employer to be criminally prosecuted and sentenced to jail time for violating federal wage-and-hour law, but it is possible, as one business owner recently learned. United States v. Villalpando (D. S.C. 2016).

Owner of Senor Tequila Mexican Restaurant, Jose Jamie Villalpando, was sentenced to five months in prison for lying to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) during an investigation into whether his business complied with minimum wage and overtime requirements.

The investigation found the seven employees were due $106,103 in back pay. Villalpando issued checks for $76,576 to three of the affected workers, but required them to cash the checks and return the money to him. Villalpando then submitted the canceled checks to the DOL as proof that he had met his back pay obligation.

No surprise outcome here. Nothing good can come to a business from dishonesty to a federal agency. In case you ever wondered if a business owner could be jailed for a wage-and-hour violation, now you know.