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Long IslandCrime

Officials: LIer and his company admit underpaying workers

A Long Beach man and his company will forfeit $2.5 million for paying electricians less than half of what the law requires for working on public contracts, officials said on Wednesday.

Both Michael Riglietti, 50, of Long Beach, and his Brooklyn firm, MSR Electrical Construction Co., pleaded guilty to grand larceny and to breaking the state’s prevailing wage requirements, authorities said.

Five electricians will receive $700,000, the total they are owed, officials said.

The defendant on March 28 also will be sentenced to 5 years of probation, acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters said in a statement.

Riglietti and his firm will be barred from public contracts for five years, they said.

“These defendants got lucrative public works contracts and then shamefully stole money from their own employees,” Gonzalez said.

Peters said the wage theft case is “an important message to the entire construction industry: Cheat your employees of their proper wages and there will be serious consequences, including arrest and loss of business.”

Damani C. Sims, a Manhattan attorney for Riglietti and the company, declined to comment.

The five electricians were paid an average of $13.50 to $25 an hour, with no overtime or benefits, for working on 15 public contracts from December 2012 to December 2015, officials said.

They should have been paid $54 an hour, with benefits of $40.16 to $51.86, they said.

Riglietti, whose firm was conditionally discharged, pocketed the stolen wages, while billing the full amount, officials said.

His firm was a subcontractor for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority at five sites in Manhattan and Queens.

Riglietti also won contracts for projects at 13 New York City public schools from the School Construction Authority.

And he was awarded work at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens for the state Office of General Services, officials said.

The rest of the money the defendant is forfeiting, including $500,000 in penalties, will be collected by the state Insurance Fund and the state Workers’ Compensation Board, which he defrauded, they said.

“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime,” said state Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo.

“It drives up workers’ compensation costs and the cost of doing business in New York State,” he continued.

To cover the costs of their investigations, the school agency will receive $28,000; the office of the state comptroller will be paid $45,739, the statement said.

The remainder will be forfeited to the district attorney’s office, it said.

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said his office’s investigation and partnership with the Brooklyn district attorney uncovered the fraud.

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