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Nassau DA: Westbury-based business owner exploited employees, failed to pay wages

Linda Cunegin, 72, of Jamaica, Queens, and her

Linda Cunegin, 72, of Jamaica, Queens, and her company Tri-County Home Nursing Services were arraigned Tuesday and charged with scheme to defraud, a felony, along with nine counts of failure to pay wages, a misdemeanor.  Credit: NCDA

The owner of a now-defunct home nursing company is facing charges for failing to pay at least nine employees more than $64,000 in wages, according to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.

Linda Cunegin, 72, of Jamaica, Queens, and her company, Tri-County Home Nursing Services of Westbury, were arraigned Tuesday  and charged with scheme to defraud, a felony, and nine counts of failing to pay wages, a misdemeanor. 

Nassau County District Court Judge Eileen Goggin conditionally released Cunegin to probation. If convicted of the top count, she faces 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

“The defendant allegedly exploited her employees by pocketing their hard-earned wages," Singas said. “Wage theft cases are a priority for my office, and we will seek restitution and justice for these employees.”

Matthew Tuohy, Cunegin's Huntington-based defense attorney, did not respond to a request for comment. 

From 2016 to 2017, Cunegin and her company, which provided services to homebound patients, failed to pay hourly wages totaling more than $64,000 to at least nine home health aides, prosecutors said. The employees, who have yet to be paid, are owed between $973 and $15,578, prosecutors said.

Cunegin told staffers that paychecks were often late because she had not received reimbursement funds from Medicaid and Medicare. In addition, some former employees received checks that were returned for insufficient funds, officials said. Prosecutors said the Medicare and Medicaid invoices were paid in full.

The district attorney encouraged anyone who may be a victim of wage theft to contact its Criminal Complaints Unit at 516-571-7755.

Cunegin is due back in court March 14.

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