Logan businessman Justin R. Hamilton is expected to enter a guilty plea this week in a criminal case filed in March in U.S. District Court related to the payment of back wages from a 2016 U.S. Department of Labor Investigation.
According to the Utah Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wages and Hours Division opened an investigation into business practices at Cafe Sabor’s Bear Lake location in 2016.
“The investigation uncovered wage and hour violations that appear to be systemic and the WHD investigated two other Cafe Sabor locations in Layton, Utah and Logan, Utah,” states a charging document filed in federal court.
Hamilton reportedly entered into a settlement agreement to pay nearly $126,000 in back wages on or before July 31, 2017.
In September that year, Hamilton allegedly emailed the WHD seven times with what appeared to be proof of payment.
“WHD attempted to verify that the Cafe Sabor employees have been paid their back wages,” the charging document states. “The verification revealed that some employees were not paid and that the canceled checks used as proof of payment had been forged.”
Hamilton, 40, was charged in March with impeding administration of the law, a third-degree felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He initially entered a plea of not guilty, but he is expected to plead guilty on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Hamilton owns Cafe Sabor, as well as Bluebird Candy Co., and Off-Premise Catering, a business featuring menu items from both Cafe Sabor and the former Hamilton’s Steak and Seafood.