Nine construction firms operating within the state of New York have been indicted by authorities for withholding an estimated $1.2 million in compensation from hundreds of workers.
The Department of Labor, together with state attorney general Eric Schneiderman and district attorneys from all five counties, pressed criminal charges on Dec. 4 against seven contractors based in New York City, and another two in Nassau and Westchester counties.
These firms were identified through the Wage Theft Initiative. For months, several agencies have been collaborating to crack down on firms short-changing their employees. Cases are referred by the Department of Labor to prosecutors, who subsequently take legal action. Investigations launched across several jurisdictions have already resulted in a number of indictments, felony complaints and non-prosecution settlements.
According to agencies behind the initiative, almost 400 workers are still involved in wage theft cases that are either ongoing or nearing resolution. To date, they have already received nearly $700,000 from the accused firms. The remaining amount will be paid before the close of 2017.
“As the giving season approaches, it is my hope that the holidays will be that much brighter for the families of more than 300 New Yorkers who will be receiving $500,000 in back pay owed to them,” said Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.
“Every week, New Yorkers lose $20 million in unpaid wages. And every day, construction workers who risk their lives doing dangerous jobs have to wonder whether they’ll actually be paid for their work… workers are all too often preyed upon by their employers, who are able to steal millions of dollars in unpaid wages,” Vance said.