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State College Contractor Gets Jail Time After Pleading Guilty to Wage Theft Charges

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The owner of a State College-based mechanical contractor will serve time in jail after pleading guilty in March to charges that his company underpaid workers’ wages and benefits for prevailing-wage jobs over five years.

Clearfield County President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman on Monday sentenced Scott Good, the founder and owner of Goodco Mechanical, to a minimum of 120 days in county jail, as well as three years of probation, 200 hours of community service, and a fine. Goodco was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and, as part of a plea agreement with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, will pay more than $64,000 in restitution.

Defense attorney Sarah Hyser-Staub said in a statement that Good belongs on probation for the misdemeanor convictions, not in jail.

“We respectfully and vehemently disagree with Judge Ammerman’s decision today to sentence Scott Good to serve jail time,” Hyser-Staub said. “No one in this case argued for a jail sentence – not even attorneys for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, which prosecuted this unprecedented case.

“Scott is a good man who is ready to move forward, with a goal of continuing to build and enrich the community he loves so dearly. The success of his company and the livelihoods of some 40 community members employed there depend upon Scott’s steadfast leadership and his commitment to personal and professional excellence.”

Good pleaded guilty on March 19 to five misdemeanor counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds. The company pleaded guilty to one count of the same charge.

They were initially charged in 2019 with more than 200 counts following a 21-month grand jury investigation prompted by allegations that they violated the state’s prevailing wage law by paying skilled trade workers at a lower rate than required on a $16 million PennDOT project in Clearfield County and public projects in other counties. Most of the charges were dropped as part of the plea.

According to the attorney general’s office, Good directed journeyman electricians and plumbers to record portions of their work hours as lower paid laborers. The company also was accused of crediting itself hourly vacation benefits employees did not use in order to reduce the amount the company had to pay toward fringe benefits.

The Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act requires contractors on projects that receive state or federal funding to pay the same hourly wages and benefits based on region and job classification.

It was the first time prosecutors pursued criminal charges in a prevailing wage matter, which is usually handled through administrative procedures outlined by the Department of Labor and Industry.

“The days when companies could screw over workers and not be held accountable to the law are over. If employers steal from their workers, through misclassification or violations of the prevailing wage, we will act,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement on Monday. “My office is committed, with our partners in law enforcement, to make sure working Pennsylvanians receive the wages and benefits owed to them under the law.”

According to a sentencing memorandum filed by Good’s attorneys, a probation officer’s presentence investigation report recommended no jail time but that Good should receive three to five years probation for each count, to be served concurrently. It also recommended $2,500 in fines for Good and a maximum $10,000 fine for Goodco.

More than 40 community members and former employees also submitted letters “attesting to Mr. Good’s exemplary character and seeking lenience on his behalf,” his attorneys wrote.

Good has no prior criminal record and intended to pay the full restitution at the time of sentencing, according to the filing.

“Scott should be free on probation so that he can continue to do more good in Centre County – both as a loving and devoted family man, and as a civic leader within the community,” Hyser-Staub said. “That is our goal, and that should be the goal of the court.”

Prosecutors did not file a response to the sentencing memorandum.

Shapiro said in his statement Good previously was vice president at Allied Mechanical and Electrical when in 2006 the company was found to be in violation of Pennsylvania prevailing wage laws and was sanctioned by the state Department of Labor and Industry for using practices similar to what Goodco was accused of doing.

Another Centre County contractor recently was accused by Shapiro’s office of violating the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act and the federal Davis-Bacon Act.

Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. was charged on April 8 with four felony counts of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds following a three-year investigation, in what Shapiro said is the largest prevailing wage criminal case on record.

The company is accused of stealing more than $20 million from thousands of employees dating back to 2015. Hawbaker, one of the state’s largest construction contractors, allegedly used money intended for prevailing wage workers’ retirement funds to contribute retirement accounts for all Hawbaker employees, resulting in workers receiving less money in their retirement accounts than they were owed. It also allegedly took funds that should have gone to prevailing wage workers’ health and welfare benefits and used them to subsidize the cost of a self-funded health insurance plan that covers all employees.

Only the company has been charged in that case.

“Upon learning of the Attorney General’s investigation in 2018, we have cooperated fully. While we believe that we have always acted in accordance with all state and federal laws, in an abundance of caution, the company immediately changed its prevailing wage practices,” a statement from Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. said. “These changes remain in effect today as we continue to do what’s right for our employees, both past and present. Our company will continue to work constructively with the Attorney General’s office to reach a swift resolution.”