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Westbury Contractor Charged With Ripping Off Workers
A contractor from Long Island and two of his employees have been indicted on charges of failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages to workers on a New York City work site.
Mohammad Riaz, a 34-year-old Westbury resident and owner of Applied Construction Inc., pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Bronx court to money laundering, grand larceny, scheme to defraud and other charges.
Pleading not guilty to similar charges were 39-year-old Mohammad Arshad, his manager from Hicksville, and 58-year-old Zbigniew “Ziggy” Lakomiec, his foreman from Brooklyn.
“Contractors who work on affordable housing cannot ignore New York State’s labor laws,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who alleged the trio schemed to avoid prevailing wage laws by underpaying workers.
Applied Construction was required by law and their contract with the city to pay prevailing wages to workers on a taxpayer-funded affordable housing project on Kingsbridge Terrace in the Bronx between Nov. 9, 2011 and Aug. 30, 2012.
Instead, the trio allegedly paid the workers a fraction of the lawful rate and did not provide supplemental benefits, according to the attorney general. They allegedly tried to cover their tracks by excluding from payroll reports the workers they paid in cash. Some workers who were included on payroll were ordered to back kickbacks to the suspects, authorities said.
Judge Richard Lee Price set bail for Riaz and Arshad at $10,000. Lakomiec was released without bail. All three face up to 15 years in prison on the grand larceny charge.