A New Jersey husband-and-wife contracting team has been indicted on charges of swindling employees out of nearly $200,000 in unpaid wages and benefits, then trying to paper over the alleged fraud.
Kenneth Deaver, 54, and Diane Deaver, 49, owners of Schenley Construction Inc. of Hewitt, NJ, each face up to 15 years in state prison on charges that they failed to pay at least 21 workers the required prevailing wages and benefits such as health insurance on three municipal sewer projects in New York between 2008 and 2010.
|Diane and Kenneth Deaver each face up to 15 years in prison on 53 criminal counts.|
The Deavers, of Warwick, NY, were arrested earlier this month on a sealed indictment handed up by a Rockland County (NY) Grand Jury. Bail was set at $75,000 cash or $150,000 bond.
False Records, Theft Alleged
According to the charges, the Town of Clarkstown, the Village of Hillburn and the Village of Sloatsburg paid the Deavers for the work completed, falsely believing they were paying the correct prevailing wage to their workers.
Instead, authorities said, the defendants regularly stole money from the municipalities that was due to the workers, and pocketed a portion of it in violation of the law.
To cover up the theft, the Deavers allegedly falsified payroll information submitted to the municipalities. Certified payrolls submitted by the defendant failed to list which employees were actually working at the job sites. The certified payrolls also contained false information on dates and hours worked by the victims, authorities said.
53 Counts Each
Kenneth and Diane Deaver are each charged with these felonies:
• One count of second-degree grand larceny;
• 10 counts of third-degree grand larceny;
• One count of willful failure to pay prevailing wage;
• Six counts of fourth-degree grand larceny; and
• 31 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing.
Each is also charged with four counts of petit larceny, a misdemeanor.
The indictment followed an investigation by the Rockland County District Attorney’s Special Investigations Unit and the State Labor Department.
The investigation began after authorities received several complaints that the firm was not paying its employees the required prevailing wage.
“These defendants are accused of unjustly enriching themselves at the expense of their own workers,” District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe said in a prepared statement.
“Contractors doing business in Rockland County are legally required to pay their employees fair and prevailing wages. This office is firmly committed to enforcing the prevailing wage laws of New York and ensuring that the rights of workers are protected.”
About the Contractor
The company did not answer phone calls Monday (Dec. 12) for comment, and its voicemail box was too full to accept messages.
The company provides water main installation and repair, storm and sanitary sewer installation and repair, bridge and culvert crossings, site work and pump stations.
The defendants are due to return to court on Jan. 18.