LIC contracting firm charged with underpaying workers

December 03, 2009 02:32PM

alternate text Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and the Wagner Houses in Harlem

Long Island City contracting firm Remy Building Corporation, which was hired to perform masonry work at 13 New York City Housing Authority buildings, and its owner have been indicted for defrauding its employees out of $484,000 in wages and benefits, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau announced today. The company and owner Richard Martinez of Bloomfield, N.J., allegedly omitted the names of 16 non-union workers from monthly payrolls in an attempt to conceal the fact that they were being paid only $18.75 per hour for their work at the Wagner Houses in Harlem, though they were entitled to $51.54, according to state labor laws. The fraud, which was said to have occurred between Aug. 1, 2008 and June 20, 2009, was discovered when officials at the local union found that the shop steward there had accepted $300 in bribes for not reporting that Remy was using non-union workers. For the most serious charge, Martinez could serve five to 15 years in prison. TRD