Indian-American hotel owner in Michigan pleads guilty to violating minimum wage laws

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An Indian-American hotel owner in Michigan pleaded guilty to paying lower than minimum wage to his employees despite signing an agreement with the government to do so.

Mehul Chandubhai Patel, a/k/a “Mike Patel,” 31, of Battle Creek, Michigan, pled guilty Feb. 2  to lying to Labor Department investigators about the wages paid to his staff. The charges stem from Patel’s violation of minimum wage rules in connection with two hotels operated by him, in Battle Creek and Coldwater, Michigan.

Patel appeared in federal court today before Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody and pled guilty to the crime of concealing a material fact from the federal government when obligated to disclose it.

He admitted that during 2014, the Labor Department had hauled him up on the issue of violating minimum wage laws by underpaying his hotel employees. He thereafter signed an agreement promising to repay his employees. When requested to provide proof that he had done so, Patel sent the Labor Department checks indicating that back wages had been repaid. But he hid the fact that he made his employees to return the money to him.

Patel faces up to five years in prison, restitution and other penalties. U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney will impose sentence on Patel. The date of the sentencing has not yet been set.

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