The owner of nine Papa John's franchises located in New York City is looking at jail time and a hefty fine for not paying his employees according to minimum wage requirements. The owner, Abdul Jamil Khokhar and BMY Foods, Inc. pleaded guilty to wage theft charges and will have to pay nearly $300,000, while Kokhar has been sentenced to 60 days in jail.
“Wage theft is a crime and a Papa John's franchisee is now going to jail for cheating his employees and trying to cover it up,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Schneidman's office led the investigation, which found that Papa John's employees were not being paid the proper time-and-a-half overtime rate when they worked over 40 hours per week. In order to avoid paying extra, the franchisee had his employees use fake names after they had worked 40 hours so that it looked like the time worked was spread out to multiple workers on the books.
Obviously, this practice is illegal because it defrauds workers of their proper wages and defrauds the state on the company's tax return. As a result, the franchisee has been ordered to pay $230,000 back to its employees for lost wages and an additional $50,000 in civil penalties.
“The Attorney General's successful criminal prosecution of this employer, together with the Department of Labor's civil consent judgment against the enterprise, show that employers will not get away with covering up violations of state and federal wage laws,” said Mark H Watson, Jr. of the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor.