Nine employees who worked on an environmental improvement public works project at Stannards Brook Park in Port Washington will receive back wages of $100,895 from a Copaigue construction company.
The company, Tri-Rail Construction, pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, Nassau County prosecutors said Thursday. As a condition of the plea, the company must now pay back wages of $100,895 to those nine employees in adddition to a $5,000 fine. The company must also pay $15,000 to Nassau County to cover the cost of the investigation.
The investigation began back in July 2011. That's when a complaint from one of the workers revealed that nine employees were only being paid for a fraction of hours they worked from October 2010 through July 2011 on the Stannards Brook Park project, prosecutors said. Investigators also discovered that the employer falsified payroll records submitted to the county. One worker was owed more than $30,500.
The employees had worked on the drainage system between the streets, the park, and Manhasset Bay, renovated all walkways and bridges in the park, and replaced and repaired the park’s retaining walls.
“These nine employees performed excellent work that benefits an entire community, and for their employer to deny them thousands of dollars in wages is shameful,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, in a statement. “My office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute any employer who steals from their workers, and ensure that every worker receives their fair share.”
Founded in 2005, the office's Labor Unit has a 100 percent conviction rate, according to the district attorney's office. Workers who think they may have been victimized can contact the Labor Unit at (516) 571-1300.