December 20, 2007
St. Charles, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon and St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Jack Banas today filed criminal charges against a drywall contractor for failing to withhold payroll taxes from its construction workers and remit those payroll taxes to the State of Missouri. Nixon’s office began a joint investigation with the St. Charles County Prosecutor’s Office after learning of an individual who had admitted to an O’Fallon police officer that he was in the United States illegally and was working at an O’Fallon, Mo., construction project. The O’Fallon Police Department assisted in the investigation.
“When an employer hires undocumented workers, he takes jobs away from hardworking residents of our state and encourages more undocumented workers to come to Missouri,” Nixon said. “These employers who are hiring undocumented workers and evading taxes have an unfair advantage over the majority of businesses that hire legal residents and play by the rules. I am committed to rooting out law-breaking employers and holding them accountable.”
The probable cause statement alleges that most of the social security numbers contained in the I-9 forms for H&H Drywall employees as well as in the company’s payroll records were registered to someone other than the employee, matched deceased individuals, or were not registered to a known individual. The I-9 form and payroll records for the individual questioned by O’Fallon police contained a social security number registered to a deceased individual.
The company, H&H Drywall Specialties Inc. of Tulsa, Okla., worked on the Southernside Apartments project located at 6720 Weldon Springs Road in O’Fallon.
The charges allege that H&H Drywall misclassified workers as independent contractors in an attempt to avoid payroll withholding and reporting requirements. H&H Drywall faces two felony counts of failing to deduct Missouri employer withholding tax, two felony counts of filing a false tax return, two felony counts of failing to remit employer withholding tax, and two misdemeanor counts of making false statements in employment security wage reports.
Each count of failure to withhold, report or remit tax is punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to $10,000. Each count of making false statements in an employment security wage report is punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to $1,000. As in all criminal cases, the charges against the defendant are merely allegations, and the defendent is presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.