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Contractor admits shorting workers $149,557

Scales of justice

Scales of justice Photo Credit: Newsday File

A Locust Valley electrical contractor has pleaded guilty to charges of underpaying six employees by a total of $149,557, Nassau County prosecutors announced.

Ankers Electric Service Inc., prosecutors said, failed to pay state-required prevailing wages for municipal work between 2008 and this year.

The company’s lawyer, Brian Murphy, with Bond Schoeneck & King of Garden City, said it was a clerical error. "This is a good company that made a mistake," he said Friday.

The DA’s office said Thursday that Ankers agreed to reimburse the workers and pay $16,000 in fines. It said Ankers underpaid the six workers on various electrical maintenance and repair contracts with the Town of North Hempstead and the Village of Garden City, and on the installation of new outdoor lighting stanchions at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, Nickerson Beach Park in Lido Beach, and Wantagh Park.

Because these were public works projects, Ankers was obliged under state labor law to pay the workers the prevailing wage. Instead, the company underpaid six employees by as much as $17 per hour, the DA’s office said.

Murphy said errors were made because the company does a mix of work for municipal and private clients. Company owner Craig Johansen said Friday, “We’re a family business for over 50 years. This is just blown out of proportion. We never cheated anybody out of a nickel in our lives.”

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