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Washington State News

Tri-Cities Auto Repair Owner Caught Second Time in Workers’ Comp Scam, Pleads Guilty

TUMWATER — A Kennewick business owner has pleaded guilty to a felony for failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance for his employees for the second time.

Benton-Franklin Superior Court Judge Norma Rodriguez recently sentenced Rodney Eugene Dietrich to 30 days of electronic home monitoring.

Dietrich, 47, pleaded guilty to doing business without workers’ compensation insurance, a felony offense.

Dietrich employed two men at his auto repair shop, Rod’s Cars, in Kennewick, from November 2017 to May 2019. However, he failed to provide state workers’ compensation insurance, which would help them recover if they were injured on the job.

One employee said he was paid in cash under the table. The other said he traded his labor for auto parts or other items, according to an investigation by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

This is the second time Dietrich has been charged for skipping out on workers’ compensation insurance. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor version of the same offense.

The Washington State Office of the Attorney General prosecuted both cases based on L&I investigations.