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Friday, 25 August 2017 11:03

Southwest Michigan hotel owner to repay employees for $150K in back wages

Written by  MiBiz Staff
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BATTLE CREEK — The owner of two Southwest Michigan hotels who was sentenced to prison for lying to investigators about violations to the federal minimum wage law has agreed to repay money owed to his employees.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney ordered Mehul “Mike” Chandubhai Patel of Battle Creek, to pay $150,500 in restitution stemming from a 2005 incident. At the time, the Department of Labor determined that Patel had underpaid his employees, resulting in Patel signing an agreement promising to repay them, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Grand Rapids.

Patel operated a Rodeway Inn in Battle Creek and the Super 8 Motel in Coldwater, according to reports.

While Patel provided copies of checks to investigators as proof that he repaid the workers, he required his employees to return the money to him immediately after cashing the checks.

Patel pleaded guilty in February to violating a federal law that prohibits people from withholding a material fact from the federal government when obligated to disclose it, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

He’s currently serving a 60-day sentence at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, according to information on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

Judge Maloney sentenced the hotel owner in May and ordered him to pay $10,000 in fines, but delayed setting restitution as Patel and the U.S. Attorney’s office reached an agreement on the amount that will be disbursed to former employees. In return, Patel will have no further action taken against him in criminal or civil court regarding back wages.

“Putting Patel in jail for cheating his financially distressed employees was important, but so is making sure they are paid what they are owed,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said in a statement. “This settlement allows them to be repaid right away, rather than waiting months or years.”

Read 1553 times Last modified on Friday, 25 August 2017 11:22

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