As discussed here, a New York appellate court recently upheld the conviction of a corporate officer who oversaw a policy of providing “loans” to employees in lieu of wages. Now, another intermediate New York court has followed suit, affirming the conviction, upon a guilty plea, of Spiridon Anthoulis for “grand larceny in the third degree and failure to pay wages in violation of Labor Law § 198-a(1).” People v Anthoulis, 2010 NY Slip Op 8126 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep’t Nov. 9, 2010).
This affirmance of Anthoulis’ conviction ends a saga arising out of a scheme perpetrated by Anthoulis and other principals of 4-A General Construction Corp., and SNA General Construction Corp. between February of 2000 and January of 2004, to illegally pay low wages to workers on construction projects contracted by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), in violation of the state prevailing wage law rates contractors are required to pay employees working on public projects. In all, Anthoulis, the two corporate entities and two other individuals were ordered to pay $9.5 million dollars in fines and restitution, and all three individuals pled guilty to criminal charges, arising out of their failure to pay prevailing wage to the construction workers responsible for kitchen and bathroom renovations on various NYCHA projects.
The investigation was conducted by the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Investigation’s Office of the Inspector General for the Housing Authority, and determined not only that the responsible parties had failed to pay prevailing wages, but had submitted sworn documents containing false assertions regarding compliance with prevailing wage.
All employers, but especially those engaged in public works projects and covered by prevailing wage requirements, must take their wage payment, recordkeeping, and reporting obligations seriously.