Landscaping company owner charged with fraud after failing to pay prevailing wages

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The owner of Cedarburg Landscaping, based in Mequon, Wisconsin, has been indicted in a federal court after being accused of failing to pay state and federal prevailing wages.

The 51-year-old Scott Devereux was indicted on six counts of fraud and 10 counts of filing false documents with the government.

Devereux’s company, Cedarburg Landscaping, worked for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation but failed to pay the required prevailing state wage rate on these projects, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

For projects where federal funds were used, contractors must pay at the prevailing federal or state wage rate, whichever is higher.

Between March 2014 and August 2015, Devereux allegedly paid workers below the prevailing wage and turned in reports with inflated hourly wages.

According to the indictment, he filed false paperwork on three different projects. Cedarburg Landscaping was also party to the collective bargaining agreement with the Wisconsin Laborers Union and was obliged to contribute money to pay for fringe benefits for workers.

The union sued Cedarburg Landscaping in 2012, claiming it failed to pay into various funds.

The FBI Milwaukee office investigated the case and a search warrant revealed that the landscaping company was awarded two dozen highway contracts between 2012 and 2015 totaling about $60 million.

One employee told investigators that he was paid between $12 and $15 an hour in 2013 and between $17 and $21 in 2014. He joined the union in 2013, which required he be paid $23 an hour plus $20 in fringe benefits.

Those who complained about the pay rate were given undesirable tasks, according to Devereux’s employee.

If convicted, Devereux will face 20 years on each fraud count and five years on each false document count, but under sentencing guidelines he would receive much less time.

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