Tuesday, February 5, 2013
 

 

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Construction firm owner for charged with underpaying workers and laundering stolen wages

NEW YORK -  The Attorney General’s office announced the arrest and arraignment of Leonid Fridman for allegedly failing to pay legally required wages to his workers on a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey construction project and concealing $100,000 he stole in an account he created for a Florida corporation. Fridman faces multiple felony counts of grand larceny and money laundering.

“Mr. Fridman not only stole state dollars from his own workers, but he demanded kickbacks and laundered money to cover his tracks.” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “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.”

Fridman, 60, owned and operated Millennium Commercial Corp., a Brooklyn-based company that performed tile work. The defendant and his company, located at 200 Brighton 15th St., performed tile restoration work as a subcontractor on the renovation of the TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport in 2009 and 2010. Under the Port Authority contract for the project and the Labor Law, the defendant was required to pay his employees over $50 per hour for Laborers and Mason Tenders and over $70 per hour for Tile Setters. According to court records, Fridman was aware that he was required to pay the prevailing wages but still paid his workers only $10 to $30 per hour.

To avoid detection, Fridman filed false certified payroll reports stating he paid his workers the prevailing wages and issued paychecks to the workers that matched those payroll reports. Fridman then made his workers cash the checks at his bank and kick back, or return, a majority of the cash to him. He hid over $100,000 of the money he stole by moving it into the account of a Florida corporation he controlled, Green Investments, Inc.

Fridman faces one count each of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Money Laundering in the Second Degree. Both are class "C" felonies punishable by up to 5 to 15 years behind bars. He also faces a Violation of Labor Law charge, a class "D" felony, and 52 counts each of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class "E" felonies.

Fridman arraigned in Queens Criminal Court. Bail was set at $5,000.