By Joe McDonald / Staff Writer
A father and son whose drywall company worked on large-scale construction projects ranging from the IMAX Theater in Dickson City to the Walmart in Taylor were arrested Tuesday on charges they pocketed more than $50,000 that had been earmarked for union benefits.
The charges against Paul J. Sinkaus, 60, of 3251 Coyne Ave., Scranton, and his son, James Vincent Sinkaus, 33, of 1118 Claire Drive, Taylor, stem from JVS Corp., a contracting company they own that hired union workers from the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades.
In court papers, Detective Lisa M. Bauer said the company deducted money to pay for the workers’ insurance benefits, pension funds and other dues but never turned the money over to the union.
Mark Powell, the Scranton attorney representing the father and son, blamed their legal problems on the sagging economy. “It’s bad economic times,” said Mr. Powell. “Their intention is to pay the money they owe.”
They were each charged with one count theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, receiving stolen property and theft by unlawful taking or disposition, which are third-degree felonies. James Sinkaus also was charged with two separate counts of writing bad checks totaling $11,000.
Paul Ware, the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, said the investigation was a spin-off of another case that ended with the arrest the former president of one of the largest electrical contracting companies in Scranton. Robert Kinback of Kinback Corp., was arrested in September on charges he stole more than $100,000 from union workers’ paychecks that they thought was funding their benefits package. In that case, the workers were members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 81.
District Attorney Andy Jarbola, in a prepared statement said, “This sort of thing happens all too often to hard-working people and we will do our best to see that these particular workers are reimbursed through the restitution process.”
Detective Bauer said in court papers the payments for the unionized painters were not remitted to the union for 10 months.
Union business agent Bob Griffiths said the union complained at one point to Panzita Construction, the general contractor that hired JVS Corp., and got Panzita to pay $23,514 in unpaid benefits owed the workers. As a result, Detective Bauer said Paul and James Sinkaus now owe the union $51,892. The original amount owed was $91,419, she said.
The father and son were released on their own recognizance by District Judge James Gibbons.
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