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Drywall contractor charged with underpaying employees

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An Indianapolis drywall contractor faces criminal charges that he underpaid his employees working on a government housing project and then signed off on falsified documents to cover it up, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday.

David Roark, owner of D. Roark Drywall CCD LLC, was taken into custody and faces two counts of forgery, one count of theft, and five misdemeanor counts of common construction wage violation, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Calls to Roark’s listed business phone number met with busy signals Friday. Officials with Columbus, Ohio-based Continental Gypsum, the parent company of Roark Drywall, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Beginning in 2010, Roark and his employees subcontracted on the $7 million renovation of the Indianapolis Housing Authority’s Barton Tower apartments downtown.

Because it is a housing authority project, Roark was required to pay his employees Indiana’s common wage for construction workers, which is $28.09 an hour plus $11.82 in fringe benefits.

However, Prosecutor Terry Curry alleges, Roark paid them as little as $10 an hour, but pressured them to report the full amount to project general contractor Shiel Sexton Co. Inc.

John Andrews, a partner at Shiel Sexton, declined to comment Friday, saying only that the firm was cooperating with the criminal investigation.

Court records say Roark employee Michael Clark Jr. first brought the pay issue to Shiel Sexton’s attention in August 2011. Clark told the firm’s project manager, Dan Lawson, that he was receiving $12 an hour, less than half what he should have.

Clark presented Lawson with a time sheet showing he was earning the full amount. Clark said, “This is fake,” records state.

Shiel Sexton audited time sheets Roark’s company submitted from November 2010 through August 2011. The general contractor gave Roark $96,714 so he could give restitution checks to his workers, records state.

Roark then turned around and offered his workers cash payment in exchange for their restitution checks, but the cash was not for the full amount, Curry alleges. One employee told investigators he gave back about $21,000 in exchange for $500 in cash to “help the company.”

Because it was Shiel Sexton’s money that Roark was reclaiming from his employees, the move netted him the theft charge, which is a Class D felony. A conviction carries three months to six years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

The forgery charges, related to the time sheets, are Class C felonies. With a conviction, each could result in two to eight years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

The five counts Roark faces of common construction wage violations are all Class B misdemeanors. Each could mean up to 180 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.

This is the second time a prosecutor has filed common wage criminal charges in Indiana, according to the prosecutor’s office. In October 2011, Indianapolis contractor White River Mechanical Inc. agreed to a $1,000 fine and an Indiana Department of Labor audit after admitting it underpaid its employees during an Indianapolis Public School project.
 

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  • Fight for America
    It is time that Americans start looking at what made America strong. Fair wages for the middle class produces a great tax base for small towns, city's, states and Government. People earn good money, they spend good money, which helps everyone in society, creating jobs for all. At $10.00 per hour with no benefits, means all taxpayers are paying for this persons familys school lunches for their kids, medical..etc. Wages have been driven down over the last decade, which has hurt this country. What is American? I say it is the opportunity to work hard and get fair wages to support your family without being a drag on the economy and town, which you reside. I think the penalty should be much greater than 1,000 for this white collar crime.
  • drywall
    There are organizations everyday trying to make companies comply with the area standards in the construction industry. There are good contractors that care for their employees! Good Fair Contractors improve the economy by paying workers a fair wage,insurance for their workers and families and also contribute into defined benefit programs for their workers.This gives the workers the ability to retire with dignity and not be a burden on society.
  • drywall
    Most commercial trades do take 4-5 years of schooling. It's a tad bit harder than sitting behind a desk. So yes it deserves better pay!!
  • drywaller
    I'm sure most of you saying $28.09 plus benefits is excessive. I'm sure none of you have ever worked construction a day in your life. It is very competitive business and very hard work. There are very high quotas that must be met everyday just in order to stay employed. Most people could last a day in this line work. Your back will be messed up in a matter of just couple years in this line of work. So yes $28.09 plus benefits is worth every penny of tax payers money. I suggest you start worrying about something else.
  • Rediculous!
    And we are wondering how in the hell the country is going broke. Paying this wage to drywallers at the taxpayers expense is another reason the government spending is out of hand. Thats more than most college educated graduates make after 5 years in the workforce. This has been brought about by the unions and the carefree polioticans who are exempt from most taxes.
    • drywall nightmare
      Sounds like this guy must be relared to RED who used his employees ss # to report wages and hours his former employees never worked to keep the IRS from getting him AGAIN. IRS doesn't care as long as they are getting their share.
    • Tax Payer Pete
      Hey Tax Payer Pete - Perhaps we should get rid of minimum wage too. I'm sure we can find people to work for $1.00 an hour. Now granted, they won't pay any taxes, they will have to rely on Social Programs for everything and they will never contribute the growth of wealth in this country. Well not the overall growth of the country but certainly for a few. I would much prefer we see all wages in this country start increasing again unlike the last several years. Imagine the problems that could be solved if the group of us who pay taxes could share this responsibility with more folks instead of less. Imagine what that would look like. Driving down the average wage of the average worker is a long term threat to this country. Think bigger.
    • not all wages
      The wages are $28.09. The employees don't get the benefits on their checks. More like $58,000 a year. Most of these guys don't work 52 weeks a year so their total earnings are less. And how can you provide for a family on $10 per hour?
    • Tax Payer $
      Does anyone else think paying someone $40 an hour, which is the equivalent of about $80,000 a year, is a bit excessive? The fact that the government "requires" this hourly wage is shocking. If someone is willing and able to work for $10 an hour why would the government even get involved? This is taxpayer money that is being wasted. Do the recent right to work law changes keep this from happening? What the owner did was wrong, obviously, and he should suffer the full consequences but there is a much bigger issue here that every tax payer should be concerned about.
      • drywall
        OR, and more probable, he's an owner who thinks HE is more entitled than his workers.
      • Drywall
        his defense will he had a rough childhood, parents didn't love him and he is entitled.

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