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A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Westchester Painting Contractors For Stealing Thousands In Workers' Wages

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2017

Attorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060
nyag.pressoffice@ag.ny.gov
Twitter: @AGSchneiderman

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES ARREST OF WESTCHESTER PAINTING CONTRACTORS FOR STEALING THOUSANDS IN WORKERS’ WAGES

 

Defendants Repeatedly Failed To Pay Six Workers Nearly $20,000 In Wages

 

To Date, A.G. Schneiderman Has Recovered Nearly 30 Million In Stolen Wages For Over 21,000 Workers

WESTCHESTER – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest, indictment, and arraignment of Donato Pagnotta and Giovanni Dilullo, owners of J & D Painting Contractors Corp. (“J & D”), for allegedly failing to pay workers thousands of dollars in wages. Pagnotta, Dilullo and their corporate entity, J & D, were criminally charged by a grand jury indictment for scheming to defraud their workers, stealing those workers’ wages, and failing to pay them in accordance with the New York Labor Law, as well as failing to contribute to the New York State Unemployment Insurance Fund.

To date, Attorney General Schneiderman has won back nearly $30 million in stolen wages for over 21,000 workers across New York.

“My office has zero tolerance for employers who exploit their workers,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “The defendants stole thousands in wages that these workers earned. We’ll continue to use every tool at our disposal to ensure New York’s workers are treated with fairness and dignity.”

According to the indictment and statements made at the arraignment, between May 2016 and January 2017, Pagnotta, Dilullo, and J & D employed workers for painting and maintenance services in multiple locations throughout Westchester County. The investigation revealed that the employees were allegedly repeatedly promised payment at the end of each 40-hour week, but instead were strung along by Pagnotta and Dilullo, who kept promising that they would pay the owed wages the following week. The defendants’ scheme of failing to pay, and thus stealing workers’ wages, deprived six workers of nearly $20,000 in earned wages. In addition to refusing to pay their workers properly, the defendants allegedly failed to contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund during the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2016.

The indictment, filed in Westchester County, charges Pagnotta, Dilullo, and J & D with four counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a D felony; two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, an E felony; one count of Scheme to Defraud, an E felony; six counts of Failure to Pay Wages in Accordance with the Labor Law, an unclassified misdemeanor; and three counts of Failure to Make Required Contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, an unclassified misdemeanor.

The defendants were released on their own recognizance and are scheduled to return to court on October 5, 2017. The charges are merely 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 Investigator Elsa Rojas, Investigator Walter Lynch, Investigator Steven Broomer, Investigator Ismael Hernandez, Supervising Investigator Michael Leahy, Supervising Investigator Sylvia Rivera, Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus, and Chief Dominick Zarrella.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Jeremy Pfetsch and Health Care Bureau Deputy Bureau Chief Susan Cameron, Criminal Section Chief Richard Balletta of the Labor Bureau, and Stephanie Swenton, Chief of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. ReNika Moore is the Labor Bureau Chief, Alvin Bragg is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice.  

The Attorney General thanks the New York State Department of Labor, including Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection James Rogers, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection Milan Bhatt, and Unemployment Insurance Division Auditor Ilan Basch, under the supervision of Special Audit and Enforcement Unit Supervisor Louis Adinolfi, for their assistance in this investigation and prosecution.

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