Three business owners in Huntington are among eight individuals and nine corporations accused Monday of violating state labor laws in a months-long investigation involving multiple agencies.
At a press conference Monday, Suffolk County District Attorney Sini outlined charges that include paying sub-minimum wages, the theft of more than $250,000 in employees’ wages and benefits, nonpayment of more than $58,000 to the state labor department for unemployment insurance fund contributions, and nonpayment of more than $133,000 to the New York State Insurance Fund for workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
He was accompanied by two dozen representatives of the office’s Labor Advisory Board, the state Department of Labor, the state Department of Conservation, the New York State Insurance Fund and others.
“Suffolk County won’t tolerate greedy business owners,” Sini said. “This hurts workers and undermines taxpayers and good businesses.”
All of the defendants face felony charges. They were arraigned in court Monday and released on their own recognizance.
“Here in Suffolk County, we will not tolerate the exploitation of workers or our taxpayers by greedy corporations and business owners,” Sini said. “That is why my Office, along with our partners, is aggressively identifying and prosecuting bad actors in the business community and holding them accountable. Indeed, not only will our efforts protect workers and taxpayers, they will also prevent these bad businesses from gaining an unfair competitive advantage against legitimate, law-abiding businesses.”
Sini’s office gave the following account of the arrests and charges:
Robert Montgomery, 60, of Garden City, and Bob 1232 Jericho Corp. a/k/a DHCW Inc. (doing business as Dix Hills Brushless Car Wash), each charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony; Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony; and Discharging into the Waters of the State without a Permit, a misdemeanor under New York State Environmental Conservation Law. He was arrested Feb. 27 and is due back in court April 8.
Since 2014, the defendants, operating as Dix Hills Brushless Car Wash, at 1232 E. Jericho Turnpike, Huntington, have allegedly been paying employees sub-minimum wages and failing to pay time and a half for extensive amounts of overtime hours worked. The investigation revealed that employees regularly worked upwards of 60 hours a week. According to an audit by the state Department of Labor, the defendants allegedly owe more than $180,000 for unpaid wages from 2014 to 2017. In addition to underpaying wages, the defendants allegedly submitted forms to the Labor Department falsely listing zero employees to avoid paying $29,000 in Unemployment Insurance Fund taxes.
Sini said the car wash runoff water, which should have been removed through pumping and been carted away, was instead dumped into the public storm water drains, and that tests had confirmed the presence of volatile organic compounds and elevated levels of heavy metals.
Tosif Siddiqi, 66, of Westbury, and Allstate Enterprises, Inc., are each charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, and Willful Failure to File a True Certified Payroll, a class E felony in violation of state labor law. Siddiqi and Allstate Enterprises, Inc., allegedly submitted a forged performance bond to the Huntington Union Free School District after winning the bid for its 2018 District Wide Capital Improvement Project. The defendants are also alleged to have failed to submit certified payrolls for their time on the project. He was arrested on Feb. 28 and is due back in court March 16.
Richard Hall, 57, of Northport, and Regal Contracting, Inc., are each charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, and Willful Failure to Pay Prevailing Wages in an Amount Less than $25,000, a misdemeanor in violation of New York State Labor Law. In addition, Hall and Triangle Enterprises of Long Island, Inc., are each charged with Fraudulent Practices against the State Insurance Fund, a class E felony in violation of the state Workers Compensation Law. He was arrested Feb. 27 and is scheduled for court again on April 10.
Andrew Woodstock, 57, of Oyster Bay, and Woodstock Construction Group, Inc., are each charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, and Willful Failure to File a True Certified Payroll, a class E felony in violation of state labor law. He was arrested Feb. 27 and is scheduled for court on April 8.
From November 2016 to May 2017, Woodstock Construction Group, Inc., was hired by the Town of Babylon as the general contractor for the Gilgo Beach Marina Dock Restoration public works project. From December 2017 to May 2018, the corporation was hired by the Town of Islip as the general contractor for the Bayport Beach Breakwater Restoration public works project. During those time periods, the defendants allegedly underpaid employees more than $50,000 by misclassifying dockbuilders as lower-paid laborers and failing to pay for overtime hours worked. Woodstock is alleged to have submitted false payroll records that omitted overtime hours worked and listed the incorrect job classifications for 22 workers over the course of the two projects.
Paul Gilistro, 58, of Selden, and Goldstar Installation Services, Inc., are each charged with Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, and Willful Failure to File a True Certified Payroll, a class E felony in violation of state labor law. He was arrested Feb. 27 and is due back in court April 6.
From 2016 to 2019, the defendants, formerly doing business as The Floor Worx of Long Island, allegedly misclassified 12 employees as independent contractors to avoid paying the statutory prevailing wage on public works jobs performed throughout Suffolk and Nassau counties. During that time period, Gilistro is alleged to have regularly falsified the sworn certified payroll records he submitted to reflect the job classifications and wages the employees should have received.
Nicholas Guercio, 40, of Brightwaters, and Environmental Compliance Associates Corp. (“ECAC”) are each charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony. He was arrested Feb. 27 and is scheduled to return to court on April 10.
In 2018, ECAC was the general contractor for a public works project at the Wading River Fire Department. During the course of the project, Guercio allegedly submitted forged lien releases purportedly signed by two of his subcontractors affirming they had been paid when they were collectively owed more than $30,000.
Arsenio Carcamo, 58, of Oceanside, and Answer Construction Corp. are each charged with Fraudulent Practices against the State Insurance Fund, a class E felony in violation of New York State Workers’ Compensation Law. He was arrested March 4 and is due back in court April 10.
Carcamo is alleged to have fraudulently omitted his ownership of Answer Construction Corp. when applying for a workers’ compensation policy with the NYSIF. Prior to incorporating Answer Construction, Carcamo owned Multiwork Construction Corp., which has an outstanding balance of more than $17,000 with the NYSIF, therefore making him ineligible to take out a new policy.
Alan James, 70, of Saint James, and APJ Restoration, Inc., are each charged with Fraudulent Practices against the State Insurance Fund, a class E felony in violation of New York State Workers Compensation Law. He was arrested Feb. 27 and is scheduled to return to court April 7.
An audit by the NYSIF revealed evidence that between August 2017 to August 2018, the defendants allegedly failed to report more than $450,000 in revenue to the NYSIF in order to avoid paying $68,613.69 in policy premiums that would have otherwise been assessed.
“The Governor and the Department of Labor take the responsibility of enforcing labor and worker protections very seriously. We have zero tolerance for those businesses who seek to defraud the system,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “Businesses who don’t play by the rules will be held accountable. We are fortunate to have law enforcement partners like the Suffolk County DA’s office to help us reinforce those protections.”
“The results of this crackdown should serve as a warning to operators of businesses that we are watching,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “Labor crimes have a negative impact on not only employees but also other businesses that are following the law. I would like to thank the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, as well as the government agencies and SCPD detectives, who dedicated months to this case which led to a successful conclusion.”
The investigations are continuing. Sini said that anyone who worked for one of these companies and was underpaid or deprived of wages, or anyone who wants to report other labor violations, should contact the Labor Crime Unit at 631-853-4232 or via email to [email protected]