Paying workers as independent contractors instead of as employees may land a former executive in jail for criminal wire fraud. On June 12, 2019, the former operations manager and vice president of a Florida-based mail transportation contractor pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud related to such treatment. The Government’s case was based on pricing estimates for employee-related costs that the contractor later did not incur because it instead used independent contractors.

In the June 1, 2018 indictment of Alexei Rivero, the Government contended that Rivero purposely misclassified the drivers it hired as independent contractors. According to the indictment, this allowed the contractor to “misappropriate” $1.5 million in USPS contract payments “designated” for fringe benefits and $1.2 million designated for payroll taxes.
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What’s more likely to sustain the default termination of your government contract—poor performance on your current contract or omitting a fact about your prior employment? According to a recent decision by the Postal Service Board of Contract Appeals, the latter is enough. A contractor’s omission of key prior employment history was, by itself, a sufficient basis to terminate the contract for default.
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