Former owners of Merit Drywall plead guilty to theft-by-swindle

Thursday,

An Annandale husband and wife pleaded guilty to theft-by-swindle for duping an insurance company out of more than $300,000 in connection to a construction business they owned, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

LeRoy Mehr, 51, and Joyce Mehr, 50, former owners of construction company Merit Drywall, pleaded guilty to one count each of theft-by-swindle for a scheme they implemented in which they avoided paying workers compensation insurance premiums required to protect injured workers.

As part of the plea agreement, the Mehrs both face up to 180 days in jail, must repay their insurance provider, Federated Insurance, over $300,000 in lost premiums, and will be on probation for five years. The couple will be sentenced Nov. 23.

During their remote court appearance Thursday, the Mehrs admitted to intentionally classifying certain workers as sub-contractors as opposed to employees, and by doing so, were able to avoid paying insurance premiums. This resulted in a loss of $309,207.61 to Federated Insurance from April 1, 2016 – April 1, 2017.

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