CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A former Raleigh County businessman will spend two years in federal prison after admitting to taking more than $400,000 from his employees in an illegal kickback scheme.
U.S. District Judge Irene Berger sentenced Beckley resident Alfred Williams, 72, former operator of Williams Mechanical, Thursday in Beckley's district court, according to U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. Williams pleaded guilty in June to requiring employee kickbacks.
Williams admitted that over the course of 10 years he routinely required at least a third of his employees to return cash from their paychecks to him as a condition of their continued employment with his company. He told authorities he received between $600 and $1,000 in cash each week from his employees.
At the time of the scheme, Williams Mechanical performed work as a plumbing sub-contractor for numerous public works projects that were financed with government funds. According to state and federal law, the company was required to compensate employees with prevailing wages and report those wages on certified payrolls.
Williams admitted he was aware of the legal requirements but failed to meet them. He had required employees to return cash to him, which hid the fact he was paying them less than the prevailing wage. He also misrepresented the hours the employees worked and paid them based upon improper job classifications.
Williams agreed to pay restitution up to $520,000 at his plea hearing in June.
The U.S. Department of Labor conducted the investigation with help from the state Division of Labor. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hunter Smith handled the prosecution.