DATE: July 11, 2000         NO: 01-03

CONTACT: Terri Begley-Allen Phone: (907) 465-6014

Department of Labor and Workforce Development

News Release


Sentence Includes Jail, Restitution, Community Service

Martin "Ben" Goenett, owner of Immaculate Cleaning, Northgate Tours and Cruises, and Island Waterways, on July 6 became the first person ever sentenced to jail in Alaska for violating state wage and hour laws, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL).

Goenett was sentenced July 6 in Alaska District Court in Juneau. Charged by DOL with 97 separate labor law violations, Goenett pleaded guilty to 10 counts, and on July 7 began serving the first day of a six-day jail sentence in Anchorage.

"This is the first time the court has seen fit to allow jail time for wage and hour violations," said Al Dwyer, director of labor standards and safety. "We hope it starts a trend. This should serve as a deterrent and a reminder that blatant disregard for Alaska's wage and hour laws has serious criminal penalties."

Goenett was found guilty of failure to pay wages when required, failure to pay overtime, failure to pay monthly, failure to provide notice of wage payment, failure to provide wage by money or a negotiable instrument, two counts of employing a minor without authorization, failure to provide breaks to a minor under 18, failure to comply with or hindering labor laws, and unlawful termination.

Goenett's sentence included 510 days in jail with 494 days suspended. Of the 16 days to serve, Goenett must complete 10 of them by performing 80 hours of community service within 60 days. He was also fined $5,750, with $4,000 suspended. Upon request of Judge Peter Froehlich, Goenett will pay restitution to former employees, the amount of which will be determined by Sept. 12. Goenett was also placed on probation for three years.

Goenett's history of labor law violations in Alaska goes back to May 1998 when the first claim was filed against him with DOL. After two years of ongoing claims against him, Goenett closed his businesses without notice on August 17 and disappeared until his arrest in Anchorage earlier this year.

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