|From left to right,|
Wegmans President Colleen Wegman,
CEO Danny Wegman, and Nicole Wegman
To many, especially in Rochester, NY, the name Wegmans evokes positive thoughts and feelings.
And why wouldn't it?
The privately owned food market chain was founded in 1916 and has grown to over 80 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
Wegmans has been featured in Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For", every year, since the magazine's inception in 1998.
In 2007, Food Network selected Wegmans for its "Best Grocery Store" award.
Then, in 2012 Consumer Reports named Wegmans, the "Top U.S. Grocery Chain".
Well, according to a Wegmans upper level management member, there are dark secrets behind the company's wholesome, family run business image.
One of them being tax fraud.
We met at a local coffee shop.
The management member, who has been with Wegmans for over 15 years, and who follows my blog, contacted me Tuesday morning.
He said he wanted to talk to me, on the condition that I not publish his name.
"Wegmans is committing tax fraud, every single day," the man said, in between sips of his coffee.
"It's common practice."
As I took notes on my legal pad, the man shared the following with me.
Every single day, truckloads of merchandise from companies such as General Mills, Snyder, Swift, and ABF arrive at the Wegmans Food Market warehouse, located at 1500 Brooks Ave. in Gates, NY, a suburb of Rochester.
The truck drivers back their trailers up against the receiving docks of the warehouse, then disengage the cab from the trailer.
Up to this point, it seems as though it's just a normal, warehouse delivery of goods, right?
Well, as you'll soon see, that's all about to change.
According to the management member, here's where Wegmans commits tax fraud.
Before the truck driver even arrived in Rochester, Wegmans warehouse employees are scheduled to unload the merchandise.
CEO, Wegmans Food Markets.
Here's the catch.
Those Wegmans employees, WILL NOT be clocked in on Wegmans time.
They will be off the clock.
On their own personal time.
But make no mistake, they will be paid, and when you read how they're paid, I'm sure you'll be surprised.
Referred to as "lumpers", the off the clock Wegmans employees will start to unload the trucks, while the driver pulls his cab into a designated parking space, and waits.
The off the clock Wegmans employees will not only unload the merchandise, but also rearrange, or "break down" some of the merchandise, forming other pallets.
Ok, so by now you're probably saying, where's the tax fraud?
Here it is.
When the "lumpers" are done "lumping" the trucks, they will go to the truck driver, who will pay them.
A lumper can make an average of around $200 to $250 per truck.
Well, when the truck driver pays the "lumpers", he or she will have the lumper sign a slip with their full name and social security number.
The lumpers will write a fake name, and a fake social security number on the slip, in order not to have declare the 'under the table' tax-free income to the IRS.
According to the management member, it is also common for Wegmans employees to come in to the warehouse on their day off, just to lump.
For example, if an employee is off on a Monday, he will come in at the regular truck times which are 5 a.m., 2 p.m., and 10:30 p.m.
If you notice, these intervals are about 8 hours apart, meaning that a lumper can work as much as a full shift, off the clock, and make tax-free cash.
Depending on loads and trailers, a lumper can make anywhere between $500 and $2,000 in an 8-hour 'shift'.
Once the lumper is paid, they will often break off an average of $20 to $35 cash to the Wegmans receiving manager, and forklift operator, or "clamp guy", both who remain on Wegmans time.
And there you have it, tax fraud, being committed on a daily basis, by WegMans Food Markets, Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For."