Company President Found Guilty Of Swindling Wages From Employees
The co-owner of an electrical company was found guilty of shortchanging 22 employees out of $242,000 for work performed from 2010 to 2012.
Laura Plzak, 54, who operated Honda Electric out of her Loretto home, was convicted of 13 counts of theft by swindle over $35,000 and three counts of theft by swindle over $5,000. Plzak was originally charged in April 2015.
In 2010, Honda became the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) electrical subcontractor for projects on Interstates 35W and 694. According to the criminal complaint, an electrician and former Honda employee referred to as “M.J.” told MnDOT he was paid $17 an hour rather than that $58.50 an hour he was supposed to earn under the state’s prevailing wage law.
Prevailing wages are determined by the state’s Department of Labor and Industry to ensure certain individuals who work on construction projects earn a fair rate of paid depending on the type of work being performed.
The complaint states timesheets and paystubs provided to MnDOT and FBI investigators showed Plzak had been lowering the number of hours her employees worked to falsely present a higher rate of pay. In court, Plzak admitted to falsifying payment forms she submitted to government offices.
Court filings indicate Plzak’s company, which also worked on projects at the Bois Forte Reservation, the University of Minnesota, and the Three Rivers Park District, wrongfully obtained $1.5 million in public funds during its 2010 to 2012 operations.
Plzak’s husband and co-owner of Honda, Jeffrey Plzak, pleaded guilty to similar charges last year and was sentenced to 22 months in prison. Laura Plzak’s sentencing date is scheduled for May 13.