State prosecutors have charged the Huntington-based operator of a movie theater cleaning service with underpaying six employees and demanding that two of his workers return compensation he had given them for allegedly underpaying them previously.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Wednesday announced the arrest and arraignment of 37-year-old Jose Hector Hernandez Gramajo, who operated Royal Commercial Cleaning out of his home in Huntington, on misdemeanor charges of failing to pay minimum wage and/or overtime pay to six workers who cleaned the United Artists Sheepshead Bay Stadium 14 movie theater in Brooklyn.
Hernandez, who pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn Criminal Court and was freed on his own recognizance, referred questions to his attorney, who didn't immediately return telephone calls.
The business cleans at least 27 movie theaters in the New York area, Schneiderman said.
The attorney general said Hernandez also faces criminal charges, including grand larceny and scheming to defraud, for allegedly making two employees give back about $3,000 he had paid each of them as a result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor into alleged underpayment of workers two years ago. Hernandez also is charged with filing false applications for Workers' Compensation Insurance and with filing false quarterly state tax returns to avoid paying unemployment insurance.
The 2011 U.S. Labor Department investigation determined that Hernandez owed almost $87,000 in back wages and interest to some of his 33 employees, Schneiderman said.
"A federal agency caught this employer underpaying his employees, and even after that he continued breaking the law," said Schneiderman.