Public works contractor arrested, accused of wage theft

Stephon Johnson | 8/23/2018, 5:46 p.m.
Authorities arrested a public contractor for allegedly skimming from his employees’ paychecks.
Handcuffs

Authorities arrested a public contractor for allegedly skimming from his employees’ paychecks.

This week, New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood and Port Authority Inspector General Michael Nestor announced the arrest of Marjan Kasapinov, 63, for allegedly taking more than $40,000 in wages and benefits from 28 workers employed to work on a publicly funded construction project at LaGuardia Airport. Kasapinov faces between one and four years in prison, a five-year ban from public work and payment of back wages to his employees.

Kasapinov, doing business as Paterson, N.J.-based EMLO Corp., was contracted to perform asbestos removal work on several buildings at LaGuardia Airport between March 2014 and March 2015. Kasapinov and EMLO Corp are charged with failure to pay the prevailing rate of wage or supplements, offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and failure to secure workers’ compensation insurance—all felonies.

“Contractors that corrupt public projects and fail to pay their workers will be held accountable,” stated Underwood. “Workers deserve fair pay of the wages and benefits they’ve earned—not to be exploited by their employer. Our office will continue to work relentlessly to combat wage theft and the abuse of public dollars.”

“Companies doing business with municipalities, state agencies and authorities are legally bound to pay their employees the fair and prevailing wage,” added Michael Nestor, inspector general for the Port Authority of NY & NJ, in statement. “In this case, the defendant chose to enrich himself at the expense of his own workers. Today’s arrest will serve notice to all contractors that the Port Authority of NY & NJ will not tolerate wage fraud or any other criminal misconduct on public projects.”

Allegations against Kasapinov include submitting certified payroll records to the Port Authority that falsely listed the amount of wages and benefits paid to his workers and failing to secure the required workers’ compensation insurance for his company. Asbestos removal work is deemed hazardous.

“This construction company and its owner are accused of blatantly depriving their workers of fair pay and required protections, which cannot be tolerated,” said New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott in a statement. “These charges should send a clear message that my law enforcement partners and I will not tolerate any business that tries to cheat the system, especially while putting their own employees at a disadvantage.”

The defendants were arraigned in Queens County Criminal Court and were released on their own recognizance.

Underwood has picked up where her predecessor left off and targeted wage theft. Earlier this month, Underwood filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor for not responding, as required by law, to a records request that allows employers who violate labor laws to avoid prosecution and penalties. Underwood’s request was related to the Payroll Audit Independent Determination Program.