Employer Arrested for Not Paying His Employees

Unpaid wages are a very serious problem in Indiana and around the country. When I’m litigating these cases, a refrain I hear time and time again is that so-and-so is a small business owner and he/she doesn’t have the money to pay the wages owed to my clients. While this is often true, I recently stumbled across this situation in Middletown, Connecticut that paints a different picture.

According to the newspaper article, Earl O’Garro Jr. failed to pay approximately $25,000.00 of wages to employees of his former insurance company and an unspecified amount of wages to employees of restaurant he once owned. In Indiana, employees have at most two options to go after unpaid wages – file a claim with the Department of Labor and/or file a lawsuit. Meanwhile, in Connecticut, not paying wages to one’s employees is taken much more seriously. The Connecticut state labor department actually sought a warrant on “two felony and three misdemeanor charges of unpaid wages.” In addition to the warrant that led to Mr. O’Garro’s arrest, the Connecticut Attorney General’s office is seeking to seize property from Mr. O’Garro, including a Maserati, two BMWs, a Range Rover, and two houses.

This situation raises several questions for me, including why Indiana doesn’t take instances of wage theft as seriously as Connecticut does and how many fewer Indiana employees would go without pay if Indiana prosecuted employers who did not pay their employees the wages to which they are entitled?