Heidelberg (dpa / lsw) – Three entrepreneurs from the Heidelberg area cheated social security by almost one million euros. They were given a one-year suspended sentence, according to customs in Karlsruhe on Friday. The entrepreneurs had employed their employees as supposedly self-employed for several years and had not paid them the minimum wage.

The fraud was uncovered by an initially unsuspecting financial audit in 2017. Investigators then checked business documents and searched the living and business premises of the cable construction company. They found numerous indications of “bogus self-employment” on the part of the employees: the entrepreneurs should have registered their employees with social security.

In the meantime, the entrepreneurs had gone abroad and founded a follow-up company that acted according to the same principle. This company was also under investigation. There was damage of around 880,000 euros in evaded social security contributions. The construction trade association also calculated damage amounting to 117,000 euros.