Jason Engels, EST of the Central South Regional Council, was interviewed by News 8 investigative reporter Lee Zurick for a three part series on payroll fraud. The first broadcast introduced the problem and exposed that it costs Louisiana taxpayers $250 million annually. Part 2 delved into the law-breaking scheme used on numerous prevailing-rate projects by shady contractors and the lack of meaningful enforcement. The final broadcast showed how legislation with stiff penalties was blocked by a state senator who owns a construction company that subcontracted to a company that allegedly wrongly classified its workers. Rep. Smith (D) pledged on camera to re-introduce legislation with tougher penalties, and Rep. Broadwater (R) said he’d support a task force of state agencies and district attorneys.
When asked if a business saving hundreds of thousands of dollars would stop breaking the law if they only risked a $250 or $500 fine, Jason responded, “You wouldn’t. The penalties have to be increased through legislation on these contractors to get over this slap on the wrist…..Start putting some people in jail.”
Link to the series from PayrollFraud.net “Billion dollar blue print for a taxpayer rip-off.”