Unregistered roofer sentenced for failing to provide workers’ comp coverage for employees

Wa-Dept-Lab-and-Indust-logoAn unregistered roofing contractor in Mason County has pleaded guilty to a felony charge for failing to provide his employees with workers’ compensation insurance.

Peter Daniel Yeaman, 55, pleaded guilty Monday to unregistered contracting and a felony count of doing business after his workers’ comp coverage was revoked.

Kitsap County Superior Court Judge William Houser ordered Yeaman to serve 10 days in jail for both charges as part of a suspended sentence. He’s allowed to serve the time via electronic home monitoring. In addition, Yeaman must repay a roofing customer $4,500.

Under the sentence, if Yeaman breaks a criminal law again in the next two years, he must serve up to 354 days in jail for the unregistered contracting offense.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case based on a Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) investigation into Yeaman and his company, Southgate Roofing, of Belfair.

Warning to lawbreakers

“This case serves as a warning to illegal contractors,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards. “We will seek criminal prosecution of lawbreakers who refuse to register as contractors and refuse to get workers’ comp insurance to protect their workers.

“These cheaters are underbidding legitimate competitors who follow the rules and pay their fair share.”

Consumers can find out if a contractor is registered, as required under state law, by going to www.ProtectMyHome.net or calling L&I at 1-800-647-0982 FREE.

L&I suspended Southgate Roofing’s contractor registration in November 2012 for failing to pay workers’ comp premiums, and later officially revoked the company’s workers’ comp coverage.

Roofing workers

L&I found at least two consumers who hired Yeaman’s company after the coverage was revoked, according to charging papers.

In May 2014, Yeaman’s company was working on a home in Silverdale when the customer, who had already paid for half of the roofing project, learned Yeaman wasn’t registered as a contractor. The customer hired a registered contractor to finish the job, which ended up costing $4,500 more than anticipated.

Later that year, six workers re-roofing another house in Silverdale told an L&I inspector visiting the site that they worked for Southgate Roofing.

Eight previous infractions

Along with the criminal charges, L&I has cited Yeaman six times in the last two years for unregistered contracting and twice for permit-related infractions. He was also cited for several safety violations in 2013. L&I currently lists him as ineligible to bid or work on public works projects.

Yeaman owes the department more than $29,000 in unpaid fines and more than $134,000 for unpaid workers’ comp premiums, penalties and interest.

State law requires employers to obtain workers’ comp insurance, which provides medical care and other financial support if employees are injured on the job. Premiums for roofers are among the highest in building construction and the trades, based largely on the safety risks those workers face.