A husband and wife who ran a Minnesota drywall company have pleaded guilty to cheating their employees out of workers’ compensation insurance and pocketing more than $300,000.
LeRoy Mehr, 51, and Joyce Mehr, 50, of Annandale, Minn., former owners of Merit Drywall, each admitted to theft by swindle in Hennepin County District Court last week for the scheme they ran for a year until April 2017.
As part of the plea agreement, the Mehrs both face up to six months in jail and must repay their insurance provider, Federated Insurance, $309,000 in lost premiums. They also will be on probation for five years.
Two counts of insurance fraud against both are being dismissed. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 23.
Authorities allege that the Mehrs mischaracterized dozens of employees for the Clearwater, Minn., company as independent contractors in order to save money on workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
Independent contractors are required to supply their own workers’ compensation insurance.
The now-defunct company had worked on thousands of offices, apartments, and homes for more than 30 years, according to its website.