Car wash mogul charged with cheating 700 workers out of wages

Posted at 12:35 PM, Mar 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-11 15:35:38-04

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The owner of some 100 local car washes and gas stations in Southern California has been charged with failing to pay minimum wage and overtime to some 700 workers.

The Orange County Register reports prosecutors say Vahid David Delrahim and his managers ordered the workers, nearly all Latino, to arrive early, but the workers were not allowed to clock in until customers arrived. When business slowed, they had to clock out but still remain on duty, waiting until more customers turned up. The result: numerous hours without pay.

The U.S. Department of Labor is seeking at least $4 million in back wages and damages.

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Delrahim's lead attorney, Rebecca Aragon, and her team call the government's claims "frivolous, vexatious and unreasonable," arguing that Delrahim was "without sufficient knowledge to admit or deny" the allegations.

Prosecutors also cite the intentional "wanton destruction" of evidence.