VANCOUVER -- Following an extensive investigation, State Attorney General Christine Gregoire today filed felony criminal charges against 10 individuals and a corporation for allegedly committing perjury and falsifying documents in connection with illegally obtaining state electrical licenses.
All 10 defendants are associated with Farwest Electric, Inc., a Vancouver-area electrical contractor.
"Our investigation indicates Farwest officials falsely reported the amount and type of work hours in order to obtain electricians' licenses for unqualified workers," Gregoire said.
The 20-page complaint charges the owners of Farwest, Barbara and Alfred Edwards, as well as eight others in a 14-count filing alleging perjury and the filing of false documents. Each is a Class C felony and carries with it a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Gregoire's charges outline a consistent pattern of deception in falsifying applications to exams necessary to qualify for electrical training certificates, renewals of licenses and applications for journeyman or specialty electrician certificates. Documents filed in court assert that former Farwest employees admitted they were aware Farwest officials submitted falsified forms to L&I to enable individuals to obtain electricians' licenses. One ex-employee who worked at Farwest nearly four years refused to exaggerate or "pencil whip" work hours on license applications and, as a result, was fired.
The case was referred to Gregoire's office by Clark County Prosecutor Art Curtis, Labor and Industries, and the Governor's Office. Curtis also provided administrative support to assist the AG's Office with its investigation and concurred in the referral of the case.
To obtain a journeyman electrician's license, one must have at least four years of experience, including 7,200 hours of work of which 3,600 hours are in a specialty field.
Court documents indicate that one employee "knew he had not worked and would not be working the number of 'commercial' hours required to be eligible for the journeyman's electrician's test, but he also knew that, none theless, at the end of four years, Farwest Electric would falsely report to L&I a sufficient number of hours to qualify him for that test."
In addition to Barbara and Alfred Edwards of Vancouver, the following individuals are named as defendants in today's charges: Charles E. Davies, John Lovejoy, Michael Kintner, Rick Edward Loeks, Brian Murphy, Dan D. Hogan, Mike Sean Hogan and Kevin Lee Kysar,
"We have no evidence to indicate at this time that anyone in L&I acted criminally in connection with this matter," Gregoire said.