Two Auburn business owners pleaded guilty to felony charges and will have to repay over $30,000 in stolen wages to 24 former employees, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Travis Jackson pleaded guilty to first-degree theft and attempted failure to pay industrial insurance premiums, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Marissa Bond pleaded guilty to first-degree theft for theft of her employees’ wages, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
A King County Superior Court Judge sentenced Jackson to pay $600 in fees and serve 120 days in jail, which was lessened to electronic home monitoring, and an additional 244 days in jail suspended for two years.
Bond was sentenced to pay $600 in fees and 200 hours of community service. Both Bond and Jackson are required to repay their victims $33,298 and $12,648 to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for unpaid industrial insurance premiums.
Jackson and Bond co-owned Advanced Cleaning Solutions, formed in March 2017, and Washington Cleaning Solutions, formed a year later. Both businesses provided residential cleaning services to homeowners in King County, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Jackson and Bond did not pay 24 employees for their work while employed at either of the two companies, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Labor and Industries began receiving wage complaints from workers in June 2017, and eventually referred the complaints to the Attorney General’s Office and started a joint investigation.
Employment contracts provided by workers stated that workers could not ask about their paychecks and would be fired immediately if they refused to work due to not being paid, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
“I agree that I will not make inquiries, question, or harass the company or its representatives at any time about my checks and when they will be received,” the agreement said. “I understand that if I refuse to work because I haven’t received a check then I will be terminated immediately.”
When unpaid workers reached out to Bond to ask about their paychecks, they were ignored, told the checks were in the mail, or fired for asking too many times for payment, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Some workers had their wages stolen by Bond and Jackson for a full month and were unable to buy food and gas, they told investigators. As a result of having their wages stolen, some workers even lost their housing because they couldn’t pay rent, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Jackson left abusive, threatening voicemails on one worker’s phone, according to the Attorney General’s Office. In the voicemail, Jackson demeaned the employee for her work ethic and blamed her for poor online reviews because she said she didn’t get paid.
Jackson told the employee he would not pay her on the voicemail.
When employees complained to Bond or Jackson about late payments, they would refer to the employment contracts and threaten to sue their employees for $5,000.
“Businesses that commit wage theft are stealing from their workers,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “My office is committed to fighting wage theft with all the tools in our toolbox.”
This case was referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the King County Prosecuting Attorney. The Attorney General’s Office doesn’t have the authority to initiate criminal investigations unless it receives a referral from the governor or a prosecutor.