A car wash owner has become the first employer in Hampshire to be prosecuted for National Minimum Wage offences after being fined £14,000 for underpaying workers.
Kreshnik Dida, owner of Southampton Car Wash Ltd, trading as Dida Hand Car Wash, is believed to have underpaid workers by £21,000 over an 11-month period.
An investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found he failed to pay at least the National Minimum Wage to 11 workers between July 2013 and May 2014, and failing to keep proper records.
Colin Spinks, assistant director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: ‘Failing to pay the National Minimum Wage is not only unfair but also illegal, and Dida now has a criminal record.
‘It doesn’t matter how big or small an employer is, it is their responsibility to pay the correct wage to their staff.
‘HMRC won’t hesitate to take strong action – including opening a criminal investigation – against those who flout the law.’
Following a three-day trial at Southampton Crown Court, Dida, 29, was found guilty and ordered to pay a £14,000 fine within 28 days or face a possible 12 month jail term.
Dida was also ordered to pay a total of £4,400 in compensation to workers who have been traced by HMRC, plus £2,000 in court costs.
Upon sentencing Master RH Davison, said: ‘You were convicted on strong evidence from the prosecution of not paying National Minimum Wage and not keeping records of wages, and you deliberately exploited vulnerable employees.’