Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that a joint investigation between the New York State Department of Labor and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Construction Fraud Task Force has led to a plea agreement that will return approximately $6 million in stolen wages to about 500 welders and iron workers, the largest single wage recovery in DOL’s 115-year history.
The investigation began following a referral by the Manhattan District Attorney and Iron Workers Local 361 in February 2018.
“We have absolutely zero tolerance for any business that exploits workers and robs employees of hard-earned wages – period,” Cuomo said. “With this plea agreement we’re holding AGL Industries accountable for its fraudulent practices and returning millions in stolen wages to hundreds of welders and iron workers.”
The joint investigation revealed that from November, 2013 until December, 2017, AGL Industries, based in Maspeth, Queens County, cheated workers out of overtime pay and wages owed and reported fraudulent financial information to the state. When workers brought concerns about underpayment to the company, they were told that there was nothing they could do to recover their wages.
This victory for construction workers is the latest high-profile takedown by the Task Force aiming to prosecute wage theft to the fullest extent of the law.
The structural steel fabrication company has admitted to 3rd Degree Grand Larceny and will pay back the money on a five-year plan, which started with a $1.5 million payment on August 13. Company official Dominic Lofaso also pleaded guilty to a Class D felony for Grand Larceny.
In total, AGL will be responsible for $6.25 million in restitution, which in addition to wage restitution also includes $260,855 in contributions due to the state’s Unemployment Insurance fund.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said, “We are committed to fighting wage theft, which impacts employees across all industries, but is especially common in the construction industry.”