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LI contractor gets 30 days in jail for underpaying workers

A Valley Stream contractor will serve 30 days in jail and then three years of probation for underpaying workers on Bronx school construction projects, while his wife received a conditional discharge, prosecutors said.

Both sentences for Vickram Mangru and Gayatri Mangru handed out in Bronx County Supreme Court by Justice James A. McCarty on Tuesday matched the terms prosecutors said they expected when they announced the couple's guilty pleas in February.

The husband, who also was initially charged with falsifying business records, pleaded guilty to a felony for failing to pay the prevailing wage. The wife pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for the same charge.

The duo now has paid $80,000 to three workers, the state attorney general said in a joint statement with the city comptroller.

The court issued a restitution order for the rest of the money they owe, $201,630.09, because they paid employees $120 to $160 a day for 40 to 50 hours of work, "far less" than the prevailing wage, prosecutors said.

From Dec. 22, 2012 to Feb. 14, 2015, the workers should have been paid "a pre-determined industry minimum wage per hour, plus a benefit rate" because they were working on publicly funded city constructions projects, they said.

The couple also are prohibited for winning state contracts for five years, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors did not immediately identify the couple's attorneys or explain what became of the charges brought against the couple's son. All three faced felonies when the charges were unveiled two years ago.

Attorney General Letitia James, who inherited the case from her predecessor, Eric. T. Schneiderman, said “Employers who underpay their employees, and attempt to evade wage laws have no business in the state of New York."

New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said he referred the case to the state prosecutors after discovering that Mangru had formed a new company, AVM Construction Corp., to obtain city contracts after he was barred for labor violations. Stringer's statement echoed that of James, though his language was more punishing.

"There’s no place in New York for these kind of acts, and my office will always fight to break the grip of those who cheat our workers — finger by finger,” he said.

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