Contractor charged with stealing workers' wages, scamming taxpayers

by: John Knicely Updated:

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SEATTLE, Wash. - Dathan Williams answered to a judge Thursday on charges that he’d been stealing his workers’ wages and fraudulently winning drywall contracts for years.

Labor and Industries and Seattle Police have been working the case since October 2010.  An undercover detective was trained in drywall installation so he could get close to Williams and his company, JRW Structures.

Over the next several months, the detective said Williams bragged about falsifying unemployment claims and intentionally paying wages below requirements of government contracts.

Prosecutors said  Williams illegally won government contract bids like the U.S. Post Office in Bellevue.  They said he was able to underbid competitors because he underpaid his workers.  They said he agreed to pay prevailing wage requirements on the jobs knowing that he would not follow through.

In one instance, the detective said Williams bragged that he could pay $2 per hour if he wanted.  The detective said Williams bragged about hiring undocumented workers.   And in one case he called ICE to report the undocumented workers when they complained they were being paid what they were owed.

On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree theft, two counts of false reporting, and one count of offering false instrument for filing or record.

KIRO 7 asked Williams what he had to say to the charges that he stole from his workers and state taxpayers.

“I have no comment at this time,” Williams said.

The King County prosecutor said this case could take years to be tried.