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NYC construction workers to be repaid stolen $6 million

A structural-steel fabrication company based in Queens has admitted to cheating construction workers out of millions of dollars from 2013 to 2017. In one of the largest deals the New York Department of Labor has ever struck, the company has admitted its history of wage theft and will pay the workers the money it owes them.

The company admits guilt

According to the plea agreement, the company cheated its workers out of wages, including overtime pay. The Department of Labor described the construction workers as employees “who face some of the most treacherous working conditions of any industry and widespread exploitation.”

In addition to underpaying its workers, the company also pled guilty to underreporting its payroll to the Department of Labor, and thus of reporting fraudulent financial information to New York State.

Grand larceny pleas

The company plead guilty to 3rd Degree Grand Larceny and its chief executive admitted guilty to Class D felony for Grand Larceny. The Manhattan District Attorney recommended the executive be released with conditions and otherwise receive no jail time. The terms of the plea agreement don’t just have the company admitting its guilt. Its conditions also require the company to return stolen wages to about 200 welders and iron workers.

Repaying what’s owed to workers and the state

The largest single wage recovery in New York Department of Labor’s 115-year history was part of the plea agreement. The company’s bill for the unpaid wages and overtime comes to about $6 million in wage restitution. The company will also pay the state’s fund for unemployment insurance nearly $261,000.

The fraud was exposed with the help of Local 361 of the Ironworkers Union, whose business manager was quoted as saying, "It is our job as labor leaders to assist all workers when they are being wronged.”

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