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St. Charles man indicted on charges of $1.9M union fraud scheme at his SW Side companies

SHARE St. Charles man indicted on charges of $1.9M union fraud scheme at his SW Side companies
SHARE St. Charles man indicted on charges of $1.9M union fraud scheme at his SW Side companies

A west suburban man, former president of a Southwest Side construction company, has been indicted on charges of defrauding $1.9 million from his employees’ union benefit funds.

Yashvant C. Patel, 59, paid workers off-the-books cash wages and under-reported their hours between January 2009 and October 2010, while serving as president of My Baps Construction Corp., according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. He was arrested Friday morning.

Patel paid less-than-union-scale wages to dozens of employees to reduce employer contributions to the Construction and General Laborers’ District Council of Chicago and Vicinity benefit funds, prosecutors said.

He falsely reported that My Baps and a sister company, Vijay Construction Corp., owed $600,000 less than they actually did to benefit funds, according to prosecutors. He also falsely reported that they owed $1.3 million less to employees than required by collective-bargaining agreements with the union.

Both companies operated as concrete and asphalt contractors, and shared a principal place of business at 7601 S Kedzie Ave., according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Patel controlled the daily operations and finances of both.

The indictment also claims Patel under-reported about 33,000 hours of work performed by his employees, some of whom were not legally allowed to work in the U.S., prosecutors said.

The indictment charges the St. Charles resident with four counts of mail fraud and four counts of making false statements in documents related to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, according to prosecutors.

Each count of mail fraud carries a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted. Each count of making false statements in ERISA documents carries a maximum sentence of 5 years. All eight counts also carry $250,000 fines and mandatory restitution.

The indictment is seeking a forfeiture of $1.9 million from Patel, prosecutors said.

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