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Las Cruces restaurant ordered to pay $45,700 in back wages; owner blames bookkeeping error

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Chachis Mexian Restaurant might be known for spicy smothered burritos, but, the restaurant also just became known for a major payroll error.

"There was absolutely no malicious intent," said Gabriel Montoya, the owner of Chachis Mexican Restaurant. "We were happy to pay back the employees and make sure they were compensated for the work they did do.” 

Montoya told ABC-7 that in March, he learned his business was the subject of a Department of Labor investigation. It found that he owed current and former employees more than $45,000 in back pay, to include overtime and Covid-related pay.

“The money got paid back within the 30 days and the case was closed by April of this year," Montoya said. "It was very rough. But those were wages that were owed to employees that we were happy to pay back."

Prior to the investigation, the small business owner said he was handling his own books. Now, he told ABC-7 that he has hired a professional service. He now recommends that other business owners hire professionals to oversee their finances.

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

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