A Michigan painting company that did work for Hempstead Village and Suffolk County admitted to paying its workers less than New York's prevailing wage, and must repay the employees and state more than $371,000 in back pay, penalties and interest, the Nassau district attorney said Thursday.

G&M Painting Enterprises pleaded guilty to a felony count to offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

The charges were akin to the company filing false financial paperwork.

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After being awarded a contract to paint Hempstead Village and Suffolk County water towers, using both Michigan and local workers, the company paid 28 of those workers at a lower level than New York State allows, Rice said.

"The prevailing wage exists to properly compensate workers and ensure public safety," she said. Also, as a result of the felony guilty plea, Rice said, the G&M company has been barred from bidding on public construction projects in New York State for five years.