3OYS: Valley business owes employees thousands in wages

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- Lonnie Kampe and Robert Simpson are Valley electricians. Although they have plenty of tools for work, they have no longer have jobs and the bills are starting to pile up.

"It really hurts my family," Kampe said. "We're on the verge of losing all our vehicles. We can't pay our bills. We're having a hard time feeding ourselves."

"Car payments, house payments, food," Simpson said, listing his expenses. "I'm running on savings."

Simpson and Kampe told 3 On Your Side that they shouldn't be in this situation because they both worked as electricians for a company called Epcon Electric. The company also goes by the names Epcon Solar and PIC Construction.

However, the two say their paychecks recently started bouncing. Eventually, they told 3OYS that Epcon stopped paying them for the hours they had worked.

"It's basically a kick in the teeth," Simpson said.

"The check bounced and now my bank account is overdrawn by $2,200," Kampe admitted to 3OYS.

Kampe said Epcon owes him about $4,200 and Simpson said he's owed thousands as well. They're not alone. 3 On Your Side received numerous emails from Epcon employees who say they were either given bad checks or not paid at all.
3 On Your Side reporter Gary Harper visited the company's address to ask why employees were not getting compensated for their time.

A "No Trespassing" sign prevented him from entering, so Harper approached an Epcon driver with his questions.
"Why are your employees not being paid?" Harper asked. "You owe thousands of dollars."

The man avoided the questions and sped off, but 3 On Your Side obtained company records that listed Epcon's president and CEO as Pablo Curiel.

After making a stop at his Paradise Valley home, Harper found that the Curiel wasn't even paying his utilities. He had a notice on his door that said he owed money for his gas.

"Non payment," Harper said. "The guy hasn't paid his gas bill."

Curiel never came to the door.

It's not good news for Kampe, Simpson and all the other Epcon employees who say they're owed thousands of dollars in back wages and wonder if they'll ever see it.
"That's all I want," Simpson said. "I work for it, I deserve it, and if you or I wrote this check, I'd be sitting in jail right now."

"We feel like we're backed into a corner and there's nothing that we can do," Kampe said.

State investigators are currently looking into Epcon.