Labor Law Unit recovers nearly $800K in restitution owed to workers and New York State
Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney in partnership with the New York State Department of Labor and the New York State Insurance Fund announced on March 2 that his office was able to secure multiple agreements as well as convictions from numerous businesses in order to reimburse more than $750,000 in wages and contributions owed to workers and state agencies.
“Suffolk County residents who work hard to earn an honest living deserve to be compensated fairly for their hard work. Several of the businesses we held accountable have either shortchanged their employees’ wages, or found ways to circumvent the system and line their own pockets with money while emptying the pockets of the same people who contribute to their businesses’ success,” said District Attorney Tierney. “My office will continue to fight against the fraudulent and illegal practices of corporations when they fail to pay employees for their honest labor and will also strive to recover any funds unlawfully obtained by companies defrauding workers. I thank our Wage Theft Prevention Task Force partners for helping us get these workers what was owed to them.”
“Any employer who steals from their workers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in New York State,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “I thank Suffolk County District Attorney Tierney for being a steadfast ally in our fight against wage theft and for ensuring justice for the victims.”
This past year, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office worked with their Wage Theft Prevention Task Force partners to return the proper wages owed to hard-working employees. Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the requisite shutdown severely curtailed the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s capabilities to pursue long-term labor related crime operations, its investigative staff was nonetheless able to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars and effectuate numerous arrests. Many of the victimized employees finally saw justice when their cases were resolved in the past year. Some of those cases include:
JERNAIL SINGH, 64, of Glen Head, owner and principal agent of MH ONE ENTERPRISE, INC., a gas station and convenience store in Brentwood – Between October 2015 to January 2019, the business underpaid 19 employees by compensating them below the statutory minimum wage rate and did not pay their employees overtime wages if they worked in excess of 40 hours a week. Singh routinely made false promises to the employees to pay them properly for the time they worked, and threatened them if they complained to the New York State Department of Labor about the underpayments and the poor working conditions. In addition, Singh bullied one employee by threatening to contact immigration authorities and falsely report him to the police for a crime the employee did not commit. In another instance, after an employee complained to the New York State Department of Labor about his working conditions, Singh retaliated by contacting the employee’s subsequent employers in an attempt to get that employee terminated. Singh was arrested on December 15, 2020. On July 6, 2022, he pleaded guilty to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor and Prohibited Retaliation, a Class B misdemeanor. As part of his plea agreement, Singh paid nearly $240,000 in restitution to cover the amount he owed to his employees and the New York State Department of Labor. He was sentenced to three years of probationary supervision.
TRI-STATE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW YORK CORP. of Flushing – Between June 2018 and August 2018, while the company worked on a capital improvement project for the Huntington Union Free School District, it willfully failed to pay its employees the mandated prevailing wages and overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. The corporation was charged in August 2020 and pleaded guilty on March 28, 2022 to Willful Failure to Pay the Prevailing Wage and Supplements, a Class E felony. As part of the plea, the company paid back $121,530 in restitution to 14 employees who labored on the school district project.
ALPHA CARTING & CONTRACTING SERVICES INC. of Bay Shore – Between June 2016 and May 2018, the corporation systematically underpaid four employees by reducing their wages below the statutory prevailing wage rate while they collected solid waste in the Village of Lake Grove. The corporation was charged on May 11, 2021, and pleaded guilty on August 30, 2022 to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. As part of the plea, they paid $96,732 to the affected employees and the New York State Department of Labor.
GOLDSTAR INSTALLATION SERVICES, INC. aka THE FLOOR WORX OF NY, INC. of Selden – From July 2016 to July 2019, while working on public works projects throughout Suffolk County, the company misclassified 12 employees in order to avoid paying them the statutorily mandated prevailing wage rate for public works contracts. On February 27, 2020, Paul Gilistro, 59, the principal agent of the corporation and the corporation itself were charged with criminal complaints. Both the corporation and Gilistro pleaded guilty on April 7, 2022 to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. As part of their plea agreement, the defendants paid $40,000 upfront in restitution to the victims and an additional $40,000 to be paid through probation.
WOODSTOCK CONSTRUCTION GROUP LTD. of Bayville – From November 2016 to May 2017, the company misclassified 19 employees and systematically failed to pay them the statutory prevailing wage rate and overtime wages for the hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week while working on the public works projects. Those projects were the Gilgo Beach Marina Dock Reconstruction Project in the Town of Babylon, the Bayport Beach Breakwater and Reconstruction Project in Town of Islip. On February 27, 2020, the corporation was charged, and on July 13, 2022 pleaded guilty on to Scheme to Defraud in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor, conditioned on the corporation paying back $66,776 to its employees for the underpayment of their wages.
BOB 1232 JERICHO CORP. aka DHCW Inc., of Huntington, operated DIX HILLS BRUSHLESS CAR WASH – Between 2014 to 2017, the business failed to pay its employees the statutory minimum and overtime wage rates for hours worked. This business additionally submitted a fraudulent New York State Department of Labor NYS-45 form containing false information in order to avoid paying unemployment contributions. After facing criminal charges, the corporation pleaded guilty on March 23, 2022 to Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor, and was required to recompense $120,000 in restitution to their 11 employees and reimburse the New York State Unemployment Insurance Fund its required contributions.
APJ RESTORATION, INC. of St. James – Between August 2015 and August 2016, the corporation knowingly underreported their gross sales on documents submitted to the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF). On February 27, 2020, the corporation and its principal agent, Alan James, 71, were charged and both later pleaded guilty on April 29, 2022 to Falsifying a Business Record in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. James is due back in court for sentencing on March 27, 2023. The defendants agreed to pay $32,575.63 owed in workers’ compensation insurance premiums due to the NYSIF.
These matters were investigated by Suffolk County District Attorney Detective Investigators, the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Insurance Fund and the Suffolk County Police Department.
### Criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusatory instruments. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one is above the law.