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2 LI companies to pay employees $276G in back wages

A Deer Park contractor and a Port Washington food-production factory have pleaded guilty in separate cases to criminal charges involving state and federal labor law violations and have agreed to pay $276,100 in back wages to 42 employees.

The Nassau County district attorney's office, which filed the charges, said Friday that Alpha Interiors' guilty plea includes failure to pay the prevailing wage at a public-works project, a felony.

Officials said that from January to May 2008, Alpha performed carpentry work in Lake Success at the Golf Activity Center. It had to pay workers the state prevailing wage of $64.85 per hour, including supplemental benefits. Each payday, workers would get two paychecks - one for the basic wage, the other for supplementary benefits, the DA's office said. After workers endorsed the checks, they handed the benefits check back to the foreman, and Alpha's owners would cash the checks.

The plea requires Alpha to pay 12 employees nearly $86,000, including $57,100 in back wages. Alpha also pleaded guilty to failing to contribute to the unemployment insurance fund, a misdemeanor, and is barred from bidding on state public works projects.

Bombay Kitchen Foods pleaded guilty to a felony count of falsifying business records and three misdemeanor counts involving forged documents.

Bombay Kitchen also was paying some of its workers off the books with wages as low as $4.50 per hour, well below the state minimum of $7.25, the DA's office said. An audit revealed the company had underpaid 30 employees more than $219,000 between February 2007 and August 2009. The company must pay back that amount in wages, as well as a $10,000 fine.

Officials at Alpha Interiors couldn't be reached for comment. Officials at Bombay Kitchen didn't return a call seeking comment.

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