Landscape owner arrested for not paying workers

June 26, 2015 -  By

Richard Orvieto, owner and operator of the landscaping company Double “O” Landscaping, was arrested in Suffolk County, N.Y. The owner and company are charged with failing to pay more than $13,000 in wages to three former employees and with defrauding the state unemployment insurance system of almost $12,000 by paying wages in cash off-the-books and thereby failing to pay required unemployment insurance contributions.

“Wage theft is a serious crime,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “My office will take aggressive action, including criminal charges, where appropriate, against business owners who fail to properly compensate their workers, and who try to avoid other laws by paying workers off-the-books. Protecting the livelihoods of hardworking New Yorkers is a priority for my office.”

Double “O” Landscaping, based in Stony Brook, N.Y., provides landscaping and light construction services on Long Island. According to the attorney general’s office, between August 24, 2011, and January 31, 2014, Orvieto hired workers to perform these landscaping services but allegedly failed to pay them overtime at one and one half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Further, it is alleged that Orvieto fired three former workers in 2013 without paying their final week’s wages.

New York law requires employers to pay wages no later than seven days after the end of the week when the wages were earned and to report all wages paid to employees on quarterly tax filings with the state, according to the attorney general’s Office. According to court papers, the defendant owes three former employees a total of more than $13,000 in unpaid overtime and for unpaid wages and for their last week of work and is also liable for unpaid unemployment insurance contributions, fraud penalties, and interest to the state unemployment insurance system totaling more than $19,000.

Orvieto and Double “O” Landscaping Inc. were due to be arraigned June 22 in the First District Criminal Court in Suffolk County. Each faces multiple counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, an “E” Felony; Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, an “E” Felony; Failure to Pay Wages under Labor Law Section 198-a(1), an unclassified misdemeanor; and Willful Failure to Pay Unemployment Insurance Contributions, an unclassified misdemeanor. Orvieto faces a maximum jail term of four years. He and his company face maximum fines, in addition to restitution, of $20,000 for each count.

LM Staff

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