A.G. Schneiderman Announces Conviction Of Electrical Contractors For Not Paying Prevailing Wages On Electrical Work Projects

NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the conviction and sentencing of Ronald Bartiromo, Raymond D’Auria and R3 Electrical Inc. for failing to pay legally required wages to their workers on two public works projects throughout New York City.  Ronald Bartiromo and R3 Electrical pled guilty to the felony crimes of violation of prevailing wage requirements of the New York State Labor Law and grand larceny in the second degree.  D’Auria pled guilty to the misdemeanor crime of violation of prevailing wage requirements of the New York State Labor Law.  As a condition of the pleas, Bartiromo and R3 Electrical agreed to pay $273,943.66 in restitution to underpaid workers and are prohibited from working on public works projects for five years.  Bartiromo was also sentenced to 5 years’ probation.

“Mr. Bartiromo, Mr. D’Auria and R3 Electrical, Inc. are being held accountable for stealing wages from workers who did electrical work on several public works projects throughout New York City,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will continue to take strong action, including filing criminal charges, against employers who violate New York’s labor laws, steal taxpayer dollars and violate the public trust.”

(Read More)

Washington state a leader in fighting payroll fraud, but problems still occur

Dathan Williams wasn’t shy when it came to bragging to his workers about how he was breaking the law.The owner of a Seattle drywall company boasted to his employees about how he shortchanged them on pay and dodged taxes to gain an edge in bidding wars for work on government contracts.

The subcontractor also told his employees – many of whom were in the country illegally – how he reported workers to immigration authorities after they complained they were being underpaid.

Unfortunately for Williams, one of his workers was an undercover Seattle police officer.In July, Williams pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to two counts of second-degree theft and one count of filing false payroll documents. He faces up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine when he is sentenced later this month.

The Williams case is a high-profile example of the kind of payroll fraud that labor groups and state regulators say happens too often in Washington, despite the state being viewed as a model for detecting and prosecuting offenders

Non-Union Contractor Caught Shaving $50/hour Off Worker Paychecks on City Funded Project in NY

As contractor on the Sugar Hill housing project in Harlem, MountCo construction was supposed to be paying its workers the prevailing wage (nearly $65 an hour).  The reality? Workers on the project were making closer to $15 and being forced to lie about their earnings to inspectors who were there to monitor the company because of its history of failing to do so.

Construction of taxpayer subsidized projects is big business, regulated to ensure maximum positive economic impact on the community.  The name of MountCo’s non-union game, sadly, is inflating profits by drastically underpaying workers. The city is now looking to recover nearly $300,000 in back wages owed to the workers, the New York Daily News writes.

Workers told NDN that on that day of the project’s press conference completion, they were kept in the top half of the building so they would not be seen by the press or reveal to the Mayor the problems with the contractor.  What’s worse, many of them were paid for only half days and told the reason was how little work there was to do on those top floors.

“They told us we had to work on the ninth floor or higher. We couldn’t work any lower than that. They were going to tell us when we could go downstairs,” one worker, who did not want to be identified, told The News. “They wouldn’t let us see him.”

(Read More)

Taking a Bigger Bite out of Wage Theft in the Garden State

Two central New Jersey towns are attempting to crack down on employers who illegally withhold wages from workers — tying local business licenses to compliance with state wage laws.

The new rules, adopted by New Brunswick in December and Princeton on Monday, give the towns the ability to refuse to renew the license of businesses that have been found guilty either in court or by the state Department of Labor of wage theft — not paying for all hours worked, not paying at least the minimum wage, or not paying overtime.

Activists who helped craft the local ordinances say they could be a model for other communities and are reaching out to expand the wage-theft provisions to other towns. They also hope the local efforts can spur action on a state bill — A1317 — that would make it easier for workers to file wage-theft claims and would increase penalties on those convicted of wage theft.

(Read More)

California Truck Drivers Go On Indefinite Strike

More than 120 truck drivers who haul consumer goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to retail warehouses launched an indefinite strike on Monday, according to MSNBC, escalating a tumultuous multi-year union organizing effort among the drivers. The consumer brands whose supplies could be affected by the strikes include Skechers shoes, Ralph Lauren, Walmart, and Home Depot, according to a press release from strike organizers.

The core complaint underlying the union drive is that companies like Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), Green Fleet Systems, and Pacific 9 Transportation deem their drivers “independent contractors” in order to avoid paying overtime and prevent their workers from enjoying various other labor law protections. The drivers say they are misclassified and should be treated as full employees, and have begun to flood the California Labor Commission with wage theft complaints in order to fight the misclassification and seek the pay that the “independent contractor” label has cost them over the years.

(Read More)

Conn. Contractor Cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA for Wall Collapse, Fall Hazards at Construction Work Site

IRVINE – An Irvine construction company owner and his foreman pleaded not guilty Monday after authorities charged that they committed multiple acts of payroll fraud.
Mustafa Mohamed Bdaiwi, 41, of Irvine and Antonio Naranjo Jr., 40, of Costa Mesa have been charged with 11 counts of taking a portion of a employee’s wages, two felony counts of recording false or forged documents and sentencing enhancements for property loss more than $150,000, according to court records.
Bdaiwi, who owns Malcon Civils Inc., was awarded a contract from the city of Irvine to build a wall at an elementary school in late 2010, prosecutors said. Authorities said around the same time the company was also awarded a project by the city of Hemet.During these two projects, which took place from January to August 2011, Bdaiwi and Naranjo are accused of requiring workers to return a portion of their wages. Naranjo is suspected of threatening to fire the workers who did not comply, prosecutors said.

(Read More)

Demolition Company Operators Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court For Scheme To Underpay Employees In Violation Of Federal Prevailing Wage Law

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOVER NARANJO, the owner and president of Enviro & Demo Masters, Inc. (“Enviro”), and LUPERIO NARANJO, SR., a foreman for Enviro, were sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to six and four years in prison, respectively, for perpetrating a scheme to underpay employees in violation of the federal prevailing wage law and for tampering with witnesses and using other people’s identities to further this scheme. Both defendants were convicted in November 2013 after a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who imposed today’s sentences.

 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Today’s sentences ensure Jover Naranjo and Luperio Naranjo, Sr., will pay a steep price for underpaying their staff, abusing federal funds, and then lying to cover it all up – loss of their liberty.”

(Read More)

American Waste Services workers locked in ‘wage-theft’ conflict

By KAREN LEE ZINER

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE – For six years, Enrique Sarceno worked on a garbage truck, emptying 30-gallon barrels on a municipal route in Franklin, Mass. At day’s end, Sarceno would strip off his rank-smelling clothes and head for the shower.

He thought the money was good – $17 an hour. But when the former American Waste Services company, in Raynham, hired him, Sarceno knew nothing of the Massachusetts prevailing wage law under which he would have been paid at least $5 more per hour.

(Read More)