Stony Brook, NY - June 22, 2015 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Richard Orvieto, owner and operator of the landscaping company Double “O” Landscaping Inc., in Suffolk County, NY. The owner and company are charged with failing to pay more than $13,000.00 in wages to three former employees and with defrauding the state unemployment insurance system of almost $12,000.00 by paying wages in cash off-the-books and thereby failing to pay required unemployment insurance contributions.
“Wage theft is a serious crime. My office will take aggressive action, including criminal charges, where appropriate, against business owners who fail to properly compensate their workers, and who try to avoid other laws by paying workers off-the-books” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Protecting the livelihoods of hardworking New Yorkers is a priority for my office.”
Double “O” Landscaping Inc., based in Stony Brook, NY, provides landscaping and light construction services on Long Island. Between August 24, 2011 and January 31, 2014, Mr. Orvieto hired workers to perform these landscaping services but allegedly failed to pay them overtime at one and one half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. In addition, it is alleged that three former workers fired by Mr. Orvieto in late 2013 were not paid any wages at all for their last week of work.
New York law requires employers to pay wages no later than seven days after the end of the week when the wages were earned and to report all wages paid to employees on quarterly tax filings with the state. According to court papers, the defendant owes three former employees a total of more than $13,000 in unpaid overtime and for unpaid wages and for their last week of work, and is also liable for unpaid unemployment insurance contributions, fraud penalties, and interest to the state unemployment insurance system totaling more than $19,000.
Orvieto and Double “O” Landscaping Inc. is expected to be arraigned later today in First District Court for the Criminal Court for the County of Suffolk today. Each faces multiple counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, an “E” Felony, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, an “E” Felony, Failure to Pay Wages under Labor Law Section 198-a(1), an unclassified misdemeanor, and Willful Failure to Pay Unemployment Insurance Contributions, unclassified misdemeanor. Richard Orvieto faces a maximum jail term of four years, and both he and his company face maximum fines, in addition to restitution, of $20,000 for each count.
The charges are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The investigation was handled for the Attorney General’s Office by Senior Investigator Lawrence Riccio, Supervising Investigator Luis Carter, and Chief Dominick Zarrella.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Benjamin Holt and Rachael Anello, Section Chief Richard Balletta of the Labor Bureau, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Suffolk Regional Office Kimberly A. Kinirons, and Deputy Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau and the Auto Insurance Fraud Unit. Terri Gerstein is the Labor Bureau Chief, Alvin Bragg is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice, Mart Mack is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices, and Kelly Donovan is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice.