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Sharonville business owner sentenced to prison for crimes against employees

 U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh visited with workers at the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center. Walsh is facing Gandhi Merida in this photo.
Jolene Almendarez
/
WVXU
U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh visited with workers at the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center. Walsh is facing Gandhi Merida in this photo.

A Sharonville business owner soon will begin serving 18 months in prison for crimes against his employees.

R&R Steel LLC owner Ron Craig Estes was convicted of defrauding workers of retirement benefits and earning a construction contract with falsified OSHA training certificates.

Estes is scheduled to report to serve his sentence Aug. 1. He also was ordered to pay a penalty of $25,000 against the U.S. government and will serve three years of supervised release after his prison term.

Many of his employees were Hispanic and spoke little or no English. But several workers found out they were not being paid as much as their English-speaking coworkers. They went to the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center for help, and the center got government agencies involved.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss this case and the prevalence of wage theft, are Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Ebunoluwa A. Taiwo; Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center Director Brennan Grayson; employee and whistleblower Gandhi Merida; U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Assistant District Director Nikolai Bogomolov; and U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration senior advisor for criminal investigations Milton “Chip” Goff.

Workers can call the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division confidentially at 866-487-9243 or 513-684-2908. Information about wage and hours laws also is available online.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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