Granite Bay concrete company hid millions in wages

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A Granite Bay company cheated California of $230,000 in taxes, the state attorney general announced Tuesday. Attorney General Jerry Brown said in a release that T.B. Concrete, Inc. under-reported the wages of 111 workers by $2.1 million from 2004-2009. His office’s Underground Economy Unit, paired with the Employment Development Department, discovered that amount to be 85 percent of the company’s payroll. T.B. has been charged with 15 felony counts of payroll tax evasion and workers’ compensation insurance fraud. Run by husband-wife team Thomas and Rachel Bernhardt, the company submitted false payroll reports, disguising wages as payments to independent contractors, according to the release. It said that by misrepresenting their employees’ status, the Bernhardts illegally cut their state payroll tax and workers’ compensation expenses. The “wages should have been reported in full to the state and the company's insurance carrier,” the release said. Because of the Bernhardts’ actions, the State Compensation Insurance Fund, which was T.B.'s workers' compensation carrier, reportedly lost more than $180,000 in premiums. The company failed to report nearly 85 percent of its payroll to the insurer, and in some cases, concrete workers were classified as clerical workers, the release said. Investigators said they have been working on the case since December 2008. According to the release, Thomas Bernhardt, a licensed contractor, founded T.B. in 1999 for retail construction and other projects in Northern California. Rachel Bernhardt handled payroll. The couple, out on bail, will be arraigned Tuesday in a Placer County Court. ~ Staff report