Owners Of Chinatown Garment Shop Charged With Withholding $80,000 In Employee Wages

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that the husband and wife owners of a former garment factory in Chinatown have been charged in a 40 count indictment alleging that the pair failed to pay 19 workers some $80,000 in wages, and tried to cover up the crime by falsifying payroll records.

Named in the indictment were Mary Yue Cheung, 29, and her husband Hong Wei Yang, 30, of 1154 65th Street, Brooklyn, NY. The couple owned a garment factory called Kimtex Fashion, Inc., which was located at 91 East Broadway in Manhattan. The factory is now closed.

The indictment alleges that the defendants failed to pay workers' wages in accordance with labor law and made illegal deductions from the wages. In addition to the underpayment, the defendants regularly failed to pay workers in a timely fashion. The indictment alleges the defendants made the illegal deductions from wages between January of this year until July when the factory closed. The case was investigated by the Apparel Industry Task Force, which was established by the State Department of Labor to enforce state labor laws in the garment industry in New York City .

"My office will continue to work with the Department of Labor to protect the rights of immigrant workers in New York state," Spitzer said. "The law requires that employees must be fully paid for the hours they work. This indictment will send the message that we will enforce state labor laws and ensure that employers live up to their responsibilities."

Cheung is charged with one count of Scheme to Defraud, one count of Falsifying Business Records and one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing. Each of these charges is a Class E felony, punishable by up to a maximum term of four years in prison. Cheung is also charged with 19 counts of Failing to Pay Wages in accordance with the state Labor Law, and 18 counts of Illegally Withholding Wages without the Authorization of the Employees.

Yang is charged with one count of Scheme to Defraud, a felony, 19 counts of Failing to Pay Wages in Accordance with the Labor Law, and 18 counts of Illegally Withholding Wages without the Authorization of the Employees. The defendants were arraigned today in Manhattan State Supreme Court.

Spitzer thanked the Apparel Industry Task Force and State Labor Department for its assistance on the case.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Felice Sontupe of the Criminal Prosecution Bureau and Richard Balletta of the Labor Bureau.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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