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NYC Firm Allegedly Stole $10M from Workers, State

Friday, May 18, 2018

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A New York City construction firm was recently indicted on charges that it stole more than $1.7 million in wages from its workers and swindled the state out of another $8 million.

Parkside Construction—along with six individuals including co-owners Francesco Pugliese, 39, and Salvatore Pugliese, 46; construction foreman James Lyons, 54; payroll manager Yenny Duarte, 42; outside accountant Michael Dimaggio, 58; and the owner of a Michigan payroll company, Jerry Hamling, 57—faces charges such as grand larceny, scheme to defraud and insurance defraud

The Case

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. alleges that Parkside Construction stole the wages from about 520 workers while crews worked on several high-rise buildings, including a luxury apartment complex on what’s known as “Billionaires’ Row.” The company is also accused of hiding nearly $42 million in wages to avoid paying insurance premiums.

Vance said that the company primarily cheated workers who were undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Ecuador by purposely shorting their hours and failing to pay them overtime during a period between 2014 and 2017.

“Often, it’s the very people who are tasked with building this great city who are the most vulnerable to fraud from their managers and employers,” said Vance, at a press conference.

"Amid Manhattan's luxury building boom, sometimes it's all too easy to overlook the human beings behind the scaffolding. Construction workers are responsible for some of the most dangerous jobs in the city, and whether they're working thousands of feet up in the air or 20 feet below ground-level, they deserve to be paid fairly and fully for their work."

Prosecutors say that the company tracked worker hours via face recognition machines and manual time sheets, and falsified the hours on what was submitted to the payroll company.

The company has denied the charges.

“We have known about this investigation for over a year and look forward to showing the district attorney’s office why they are wrong in filing these charges,” said Scott Leemon, a lawyer for Parkside.

   

Tagged categories: Fraud; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits

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