Contractor Charged With Wage Theft, Other Charges

A painting contractor who had a number of contracts to work on San Francisco city and school projects is facing charges that she cheated her employees out of more than $600,000 in wages.

Frances Ann Doherty was charged Friday with 57 counts including wage theft, workers’ compensation insurance premium fraud and other charges, said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

Doherty also allegedly provided fraudulent employee payroll information to insurance companies, enabling her to pay lower workers compensation insurance premiums.

Doherty, who operated Doherty Painting & Construction, failed to pay San Francisco’s prevailing wage to workers for projects she had with San Francisco, the San Francisco Unified School District and other public agencies, according to prosecutors.

Contractors awarded work on public projects are required to pay their workers the prevailing wage and provide verification that the appropriate wages were paid.

Court documents show Doherty had contracts for 23 different public projects, but investigators determined her employees were paid only a fraction of the wages to which they were entitled.

“This conduct not only victimizes workers who are desperately trying to make a living in a very tough economy, it also hurts the honest businesses that were unable to successfully compete for these projects, which the defendant was able to underbid and win as a result of this scheme,” said Gascon.

During a hearing Friday, bail for the 51-year-old Doherty was set at $750,000. Her arraignment was continued until Feb. 3.

A phone message left at her business Friday night seeking comment on the charges was not immediately returned.