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Post date: October 28 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Conviction And Sentencing Of Long Island Landscaping Business And Its Owner For Failing To Pay Employees’ Wages

Landscaping Company Failed To Pay Overtime And Did Not Report Workers’ Wages To The State Unemployment Insurance System; Owner Will Pay $13,000 Back To Workers and Nearly $20,000 To The State

RIVERHEAD– Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the conviction and sentencing of Richard Orvieto and his company Double “O” Landscaping Inc for failing to pay full wages to employees and defrauding the state unemployment insurance system. Orvieto and the company had previously pleaded guilty to failing to pay his employees overtime, refusing to pay them owed wages after firing them, and defrauding the state unemployment insurance system by paying workers in cash and not reporting their wages on required quarterly tax filings. Orvieto was sentenced to pay restitution of $13,032 to three former employees and $19,856.64 to the New York State Department of Labor.

“It doesn’t matter if you own a restaurant or a landscaping company—you must pay your workers the money they are owed and pay them on the books,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will continue to crack down on wage theft and return earnings that rightfully belong to workers.”

Double “O” Landscaping Inc., based in Stony Brook provides landscaping and light construction services on Long Island. Between August 24, 2011 and January 31, 2014, Orvieto hired workers to perform these landscaping services but 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. Orvieto also paid his workers’ wages in cash and failed to report or pay unemployment insurance contributions for these wages to the state unemployment insurance system. In addition, in late 2013, Orvieto fired three workers, who were then 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. Employers must also pay one and a half times the worker’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 per workweek. A first offense of failure to pay wages is a misdemeanor while a second offense within 5 years is a felony.

Employers are also obligated to report all wages paid to workers on quarterly tax forms, and to remit payroll tax withholdings and unemployment insurance contributions based on those reports. Failure to report all wages paid when filing quarterly tax forms can lead to felony charges for falsifying business records and filing a false instrument with a state agency.

Orvieto previously pled guilty to failure to pay wages under the New York Labor Law, a misdemeanor, and Double “O” Landscaping pled guilty to falsifying business records in the first degree, a class E felony.

In addition to paying restitution, Orvieto must pay a mandatory fine under the Labor Law, will be on probation for three years, and must complete 50 hours of community service.
The investigation was handled for the Attorney General’s Office by Senior Investigator Lawrence Riccio, Supervising Investigator Luis Carter, and Chief Dominick Zarrella.

The case was prosecuted 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, Marty Mack is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Offices, and Kelly Donovan is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice.