A.G. Schneiderman Announces Indictments Of Construction Contractors For Failing To Pay More Than $280,000 In Wages To Workers On Public Work Projects

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2017

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

A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN ANNOUNCES INDICTMENTS OF CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS FOR FAILING TO PAY MORE THAN $280,000 IN WAGES TO WORKERS ON PUBLIC WORK PROJECTS

Vickram, Gayatri, And Ravi Mangru—Operators Of  Vick Construction and AVM Construction Corp.—Allegedly Failed To Pay Prevailing Wages, Falsified Documents On Construction Work at Several NYC Public Schools

To Date, Attorney General Schneiderman Has Won Back Nearly $30 Million in Stolen Wages for Over 21,000 Workers Across New York

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced an eight-count indictment of Vickram Mangru, his wife Gayatri Mangru, and son Ravi Mangru, of Valley Stream, NY, for allegedly failing to pay proper prevailing wages to workers and falsifying business records related to a publicly-funded New York City construction project.

Between 2012 and 2015, the New York City Department of Education Division of School Facilities contracted Vick Construction and AVM Construction Corp. for a development and repair project at several Bronx public schools. Vickram Mangru owned and operated Vick Construction between 2012 and 2014 and Gayatri Mangru and Ravi Mangru owned AVM Construction Corp. between 2014 and 2015. However, Vickram Mangru ran the day-to-day operations of both companies. 

As alleged in the indictment, Vickram Mangru created AVM Construction Corp. as an extension of Vick Construction—which had previously been debarred and banned for a five-year period from performing public work projects by the New York City Comptroller’s Office for failing to pay proper prevailing wages to workers. As today’s indictment alleges, an investigation conducted by the Attorney General uncovered that the pervasive non-payment of prevailing wages and falsification of business records continued uninterrupted between both companies, resulting in the combined underpayment of $281,630.09 to several former employees of both companies.

“The law is clear: employers must pay their staff the prevailing wage on any publicly-funded project,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “These defendants allegedly underpaid their employees for years — and tried to evade the law by closing down one sham business and opening up another. We have zero tolerance for this sort of behavior, and will continue to ensure all New Yorkers are paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work.”

The indictment further alleges that between December 22, 2012 and April 12, 2014, Vickram Mangru—as owner of Vick Construction—failed to pay several of his employees’ proper prevailing wages for construction and repair work on several public schools in the Bronx. State law requires that on certain construction projects designated as “public works,” workers must be paid a pre-determined industry minimum wage per hour, plus a benefit rate, collectively known as a “prevailing wage rate.” Instead of paying this prevailing wage rate, the investigation revealed that Vickram Mangru allegedly paid his workers between $120 and $160/day for 40-50 hours worked per week – an amount far less than what his employees were owed under the prevailing wage rate. To cover up the crime, Vickram Mangru falsified Certified Payroll Records and Reports submitted to the New York City Department of Education by claiming that he did pay workers the proper prevailing wage rate. However, bank checks subpoenaed by the Attorney General revealed that Vickram Mangru was lying about those payments to his workers. As a result, Vickram Mangru and Vick Construction were debarred by the New York City Comptroller’s Office from bidding on or being awarded any public works projects for five years in 2013. Undeterred, Vickram Mangru continued operating Vick Construction and allegedly continued failing to pay prevailing wages at the same Bronx, NY public schools. 

In April 2014, Vick Construction ceased operation and AVM Construction Corp. was formed by Gayatri and Ravi Mangru. However, the Attorney General’s investigation showed that Vickram Mangru allegedly continued to run the day-to-day operations that included the same type of construction work on the same Bronx public schools with the same employees. It is alleged that between April 13, 2014 and February 14, 2015, Vickram, Gayatri and Ravi Mangru continued to pay AVM Construction Corp. employees daily rates well below the proper prevailing wage rate, and that Gayatri Mangru falsified Certified Payroll Records and Reports to cover up the crime. 

The eight-count indictment filed in Bronx Supreme Court, Criminal Division, charges Vickram Mangru with one count of Failure to Pay Prevailing Wages and Benefits, a class “D” felony; three counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (in connection with Vick Construction), a class “E” felony. Vickram, Gayatri, and Ravi Mangru, as well as AVM Construction Corp., are charged with one count of Failure to Pay Prevailing Wages and Benefits (in connection with AVM Construction Corp.),  a class “D” felony. Additionally, Gayatri Mangru and AVM Construction Corp. are charged with three counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (in connection with AVM Construction Corp.),  a class “E” felony . All defendants face 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison if convicted of the top count. Vickram Mangru was previously arrested in May in connection with these charges and upon this indictment, Vickram Mangru, Gayatri Mangru, and Ravi Mangru were formally arraigned in Bronx Supreme Court on November 6, 2017.  The defendants are due back in court on February 7, 2018

To date, Attorney General Schneiderman has won back nearly $30 million in stolen wages for over 21,000 workers across New York. This case represents the latest in the Attorney General’s enforcement efforts to stop wage crimes throughout the state. Most recently, the Attorney General has:

  • Convicted the owner of Mical Home Health Care Agency in Peekskill, NY of defrauding 67 employees out of over $135,000 in wages. The defendant was sentenced to 1 year in jail.
  • Arrested and indicted the owners of J&D Painting in Westchester, NY for allegedly failing to pay six workers nearly $20,000 in wages.
  • Arrested and indicted the owner of Southampton Princess Diner for allegedly stealing over $82,000 in wages from 13 employees. 

The Attorney General thanks the New York City Comptroller’s Office, specifically Constantine Kokkoris Chief of the Bureau of Labor and the Comptroller’s Office’s Bureau of Labor Law Supervising Attorney Michael Turilli, Agency Attorney Caroline Friedman, Management Auditor Ilona Stadnicka, as well as the Comptroller’s Office Director of Investigations Francisco Gonzalez and Investigator Dwayne Gibson.  The Attorney General also thanks the New York City Department of Education Division of School Facilities Deputy Director of Procurement Kimberly De Vine as well as Labor Law Investigator David Coles.   

The investigation was handled for the Attorney General’s Office by Investigators Frank Tirri and Ray Almodovar and Supervising Investigator Sylvia Rivera, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus and Chief Dominick Zarrella.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Ross and being supervised by the Labor Bureau’s Criminal Section Chief Richard Balletta, Labor Bureau Chief ReNika Moore, and Chief Stephanie Swenton of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Labor Bureau is overseen by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Alvin Bragg. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is overseen by Executive Deputy Attorney General Margaret Garnett.

The charges are merely accusations and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.