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Queens Chronicle

AG: Contractor stole money from employees

Faces larceny, money-laundering charges

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:30 am

A Brooklyn-based contractor has been arrested and arraigned on charges that he failed to pay his workers legally required wages on a project at JFK Airport and stole thousands in kickbacks, according to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Leonid Fridman, 60, the owner of Millennium Commercial Corp., faces multiple felony counts of grand larceny and money laundering.

The AG alleges that:

While his company was doing tile restoration work as subcontractor on The TWA Flight Center restoration project in 2009 and 2010, Fridman was legally required to pay over $50 an hour for laborers and over $70 for tile setters. But according to court records he only shelled out between $10 and $30.

To cover up the crime, Fridman filed false certified payroll reports and issued paychecks to the workers that matched those payroll reports. Fridman then made his workers cash the checks at his bank and return a majority of the cash to him. He concealed over $100,000 in cash by moving it to the account of a Florida company that he controlled called Green Investments, Inc.

Fridman faces one count each of grand larceny in the second degree and money laundering in the second degree. He also faces a violation of labor law charge, 52 counts each of falsifying business records in the first degree and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree.

The state wage law requires government contractors to pay salaries that are comparable to area standards for a given trade, along with benefits, and higher wages for overtime, weekends and evening hours.

“Mr. Fridman not only stole state dollars from his own workers, but he demanded kickbacks and laundered money to cover his tracks,” Schneiderman said in a prepared statement. “My office will continue to take action, including filing criminal charges, against employers who violate New York’s labor laws, steal taxpayer dollars and violate the public trust.”

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