A.G. Schneiderman Obtains Guilty Plea From Peekskill Home Health Care Agency Owner Over Wage Theft

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2016

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A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN OBTAINS GUILTY PLEA FROM PEEKSKILL HOME HEALTH CARE AGENCY OWNER OVER WAGE THEFT

Defendant Pled Guilty To A Scheme Defrauding 67 Employees Out Of $135K In Wages
 
Defendant Created False Tax Documents Misreporting Wages And Underpaid Unemployment Insurance Contributions To New York State

WHITE PLAINS – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the guilty plea of Arthur Anyah, owner of Mical Home Health Care Agency, Inc. (“Mical”), located in Peekskill, New York, for failing to pay wages to at least 67 employees, engaging in a scheme to induce workers to work despite not being paid, as well as falsifying business records, and defrauding the state unemployment insurance contribution system. Anyah pled guilty to the top counts in the indictment which included Class E Felonies of Scheme to Defraud, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, as well as misdemeanors, Failure to Pay Wages, and Willful Failure to Pay a Contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Fund. As a condition of the plea, Anyah was ordered to pay restitution of more than $135,000 of back wages owed to the workers and $66,000 in state unemployment insurance fund contributions and penalties. Anyah pled guilty in Westchester County Supreme Court before the Honorable Barry E. Warhit and is scheduled for sentencing on December 8, 2016. If Anyah fails to pay restitution by the date of sentencing, it may result in a sentence of up to one year in jail.

“The most basic right for a worker is to be paid for your work,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.  “It is unacceptable for workers who serve vulnerable patients to be stiffed on wages and then misled with false promises of payments.  My office is dedicated to cracking down on wage theft and on blatant disregard of the state unemployment insurance fund which provides basic protections for all New Yorkers.”

Mical, located at 12 North Division Street, Peekskill, New York, provided home health care service to patients who were elderly, sick, infirm or disabled.  The caregivers helped patients with basic daily needs such as bathing, getting dressed, and preparing their food.  Between December 2012 and June 2015, Anyah hired workers to provide those services to patients but failed to consistently pay these workers after they performed those vital duties.  Instead, Anyah induced the aides to keep working without pay by promising the aides that they would eventually get paid.  After numerous workers quit because they were not paid, Anyah hired new workers and subsequently failed to pay those workers for all of the hours they had already worked.  Anyah induced those workers to continue to work despite not getting paid or only getting paid a fraction of what they were owed by promising them payment in the near future -- which often did not happen.

In addition to failing to pay their workers for all of their hours worked, Anyah created false tax documents, such as W-2 Forms, and reported wages that were never actually paid to the workers. Anyah also failed to pay the required quarterly New York State unemployment insurance contributions for all employees.

New York Labor Law requires employers to pay wages no later than seven days after the end of the week when the wages were earned.  Employers are also obligated to accurately report all wages paid to workers on quarterly tax forms, and to remit payroll tax withholdings and unemployment insurance contributions based on those reports. 

The Attorney General thanks the New York State Department of Labor Office of Special Investigations, Labor Standards Division, and Unemployment Insurance Division, in particular Senior Labor Standards Investigator Gerard Capdevielle, and Unemployment Insurance Auditor Thomas Rockafellow, under the direction of the Executive Director for the Office of Special Investigations John Dormin.

The case was investigated by Attorney General Investigator Sylvia Rivera and Angel LaPorte, with the assistance of Investigators of Steven Pratt, Sixto Santiago and Brian Metz, under the supervision of Senior Investigator Luis Carter, Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus, and Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Benjamin Holt and Jennifer S. Michael, under the direction of Criminal Section Chief of the Labor Bureau Richard Balletta, Labor Bureau Chief Terri Gerstein, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg, Deputy Bureau Chief of Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Stephanie Swenton, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.

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