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Post date: May 12 2004

Tompkins County Business Owner Convicted Of Failing To Pay Wages

Attorney General Spitzer and state Department of Labor Commissioner Linda Angello today announced that the owner of a Dryden company was convicted of failing to pay more than $107,000 in wages and benefits owed to 41 employees.

"Business owners must maintain a bond of trust with their employees," said Attorney General Spitzer. "Nothing is more corrosive of the employer-employee relationship than a scheme to deprive workers of wages they have earned. My office will continue to work with the Labor Department and Commissioner Angello to prosecute those who violate that trust."

Labor Department Commissioner Angello said: "Under Governor Pataki's leadership, the Department has worked hard to educate employers on labor issues and appropriate business practices. Through this collaborative effort, we're helping these workers recover lost wages and sending a clear message to employers that failure to pay workers their due wages will not be tolerated in New York."

On May 10, Melea Bartley appeared in Town of Dryden Court before Hon. Christopher Clauson in connection to her February 9 guilty plea to two counts of Failure to Pay Wages, both misdemeanors under state labor law. Clauson sentenced Bartley to three years' probation - - during which she must $107,822.10 in wages owed - - and fined her $1,000. If Bartley fails to pay back the wages and benefits she could face up to two years in jail.

Bartley was the president of two corporations - - XCP, Inc. and Integrated Payment Solutions, Inc. - - that occupied the same location at 40 Elm Street in Dryden. The companies manufactured money handling systems.

A Labor Department investigation determined that from October - December 2001 and again from July-December 2002, Bartley withheld wages and benefits due to her employees. The withheld wages included payroll wages, vacation pay and commissions. Some of the wages owed were health insurance premiums that were deducted from employees' pay but never used to pay the companies' insurance policy premiums. This resulted in the cancellation of health insurance benefits and the non-payment of some medical bills, including $10,682 in unpaid bills for one employee.

Wages and benefits owed the 41 employees will be paid to them through the Tompkins County Probation Department over the course of Bartley's three-year probation.

Upon reviewing the specifics of the Bartley case and her failure to make restitution of unpaid wages, the Labor Department coordinated with the Attorney General's office and referred the case for prosecution.

The prosecution was handled by Assistant Attorney General Carol Cocchiola under the supervision of Patricia Smith, chief of the Attorney General's Labor Bureau.