Police in Seattle, Washington, say a drywall contractor who beat out competitors for more than a million dollars in government contract work has a simple method for keeping costs low: he allegedly underpaid his employees, and threatened them with retaliation if they complained. Police say they got the goods on the contractor by infiltrating his workforce using undercover agents, according to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ("Undercover Seattle cop trained as drywaller to investigate abusive contractor," by Levi Pulkkinen).
"Caught following an intensive investigation that saw a Seattle police officer trained as a drywall installer and inserted into his company, Dathan L. Williams is alleged to have bragged about threatening his employees with deportation when they asked to be paid correctly," the paper reports. "Williams, 32, appears to have been targeted as part of a larger investigation into claims that Washington subcontractors are abusing workers and ignoring wage laws meant to keep opportunistic contractors from underbidding those paying higher wages. Williams has been charged with first-degree theft, a felony, and related offenses."