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A.G. Schneiderman Announces Conviction of Construction Company and its Owner For Failure To Pay Prevailing Wages on a New York City School Project

 

M.B. Din Construction, Inc. And Its Owner Mohammed Chatha Failed To Pay The Proper Prevailing Wages And Benefits On NYC Public School Renovation Project 

Schneiderman: Those Who Steal From Our City And Its Workers Will Be Held Accountable

QUEENS – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the conviction and sentencing of Mohammed Chatha, owner of M.B. Din Construction, Inc., whose company performed renovation construction work on P.S. 196K, a public school in Brooklyn, NY.    

“When contractors steal from their workers, and steal from the city of New York, they are taking money out of the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will keep working to ensure that proper wages are paid on New York City’s publicly funded construction sites, and that those who try to short-change our city and its laborers are held accountable.”

Mohammed Chatha, owner of M.B. Din Construction, Inc., performed pointing, grinding and caulking work as a subcontractor on the P.S. 196K project in Brooklyn between December 2012 and June 2013. The P.S. 196K project was a NYC School Construction Authority  renovation project subject to the New York State prevailing wage laws, which require government contractors to pay wages and benefits that are comparable to the local norms for a given trade, typically well above the state minimum wage. 

DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters said, "This defendant used his company and payroll to steal wages and threaten workers' livelihoods. This case is a prime example of how the failure to pay the prevailing wage undermines the integrity of construction work in New York City. This contractor and his company now stand convicted and, most importantly, his workers have been repaid the more than $100,000 owed to them."

M.B. Din, and its owner Mohammed Chatha, plead guilty for willfully failing to pay the proper prevailing wages and benefits to several workers between December 2012 and June 2013.  Although the required prevailing wage was $67.73 per hour (consisting of wages and benefits), the defendants’ employees were paid between $150 and $180 per day.  In total, Mohammed Chatha and M.B. Din Construction, Inc. underpaid these workers $105,166.37. The workers were paid their owed back wages earlier this year pursuant to a settlement with the general contractor, who is legally responsible under the prevailing wage law for violations committed by subcontractors.

M.B. Din Construction, Inc. plead guilty to one count of Failure to Pay Prevailing Wages and Benefits under Labor Law 220(3)(d)(i)(3), a class D felony, and was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge, and debarment from bidding on or being awarded any public work contracts for five years from the date of sentencing.

Mohammed Chatha plead guilty to one count of Failure to Pay Prevailing Wages and Benefits under Labor Law 220(3)(d)(i)(1), a class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge, 50 hours of community service, and is prohibited from bidding on or being awarded any public work contracts for five years from the date of sentencing.

The Attorney General thanks the New York City Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters for his office’s assistance in coordinating the investigations that resulted in the arrests. The Attorney General thanks the School Construction Authority and the Office of the Inspector General for their assistance.  The case was investigated by William O’Brien and Lee Callier, formerly of the School Construction Authority, and First Assistant Inspector General Gerard McEnroe and Inspector General Maria Mostajo of the Office of the Inspector General. 

The case was investigated by Investigator Elsa Rojas, Senior Investigator Luis Carter, Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus, Chief Investigator Dominic Zarrella. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Ross and Deputy Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Labor Bureau Criminal Section Chief is Richard Balletta. The Bureau Chief is Terri Gerstein, and the Bureau is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg.