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Hotel Owner Sued Twice for Underpaying Employees

Garbage can full of money tipped on its side with money spilling out

A Michigan hotel owner underpaid his employees and lied to the Department of Labor about paying them back.

Mehul “Mike” Chandubhai Patel, a hotel owner with properties in Battle Creek and Coldwater, Michigan, is now in jail after lying to the Department of Labor. Patel pleaded guilty in February to underpaying his minimum wage employees in 2005. He promised to pay them what he owed, but never actually fulfilled his promise.

“He thereafter signed an agreement promising to repay his employees,” Andrew Birge, acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, said in a press release reported by M Live. “When requested to provide proof that he had done so, Patel sent DOL checks indicating that back wages had been repaid. However, he concealed the fact that he required his employees to return the money to him immediately after cashing the checks.”

In response to the lying, Patel received a restitution order to pay the employees and is currently serving 60 days in jail, which will be followed by two years of supervision. Patel will pay $150,500 to the Department of Labor, which will then ensure that the employees are paid.

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

Patel was sentenced in May, but the restitution order was delayed until August 18 to allow all parties to reach an agreement on the amount owed.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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