Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

“Daily News: Trio of Queens Construction Companies Must Pay 150 Workers $400G in Unpaid Overtime”

February 9, 2018

As published by The New York Daily News, on February 7, 2018.

Three Queens construction companies convicted of stiffing 150 workers on overtime pay will have to cough up nearly $400,000 in restitution, authorities said Wednesday.

The Queens companies intentionally misclassified the carpenters and painters as independent contractors to avoid paying them overtime wages, the Attorney General’s office said in a statement announcing the convictions.

Lotus-C Corporation, Johnco Contracting, Inc., and RCM Painting, Inc. now have to pay the 150 workers $371,000 in owed overtime.

In addition, the companies must fork over another $360,000 in unpaid unemployment contributions to the Department of Labor.

The three organizations — from Jackson Heights, Bayside, and Maspeth, respectively — each pleaded guilty to felony counts of grand larceny and falsifying business records.

“Led by pure greed, the defendants in this case attempted to sidestep the law,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“My office will continue to crack down on those who seek to steal from their workers in order to line their own pockets,” he said.

Schneiderman’s office said it has recovered over $30 million in stolen wages to date for more than 21,000 workers, including over $7 million for construction workers.

The AG’s probe found that from2012 to 2017, the three corporations repeatedly failed to pay proper overtime wages to more than 150 employees working across the companies.

The laborers clocked more than 40 hours a week but were only compensated at the standard hourly rate — not time-and-a-half, Schneiderman said.

The companies had the employees sign a form stating that they were independent contractors, even though the workers were employees as defined by the New York State labor law.

The companies also underreported the number of employees working to the Labor Department and then submitted falsified paperwork to the state to lower unemployment contributions.

As part of their plea agreements, the company heads agreed to dissolve their businesses, and the principals will be barred for five years from bidding on public works contracts in New York.