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Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

A Brooklyn-based construction company and its owner have pleaded guilty to grand larceny after pocketing over $700,000 from workers by failing to pay the prevailing wage on public works projects, announced Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez on Wednesday, November 15.

According to the investigation, 50-year-old Michael Riglietti of Long Beach and his company, MSR Electrical Construction Company – previously located in Red Hook – were granted 15 public works contracts from three government agencies – including the New York City School Construction Authority – between December, 2012 and December, 2015 for work on a number of projects, including electrical work in 13 public schools, four of them in Brooklyn.

In total, Riglietti and his company – who pleaded guilty on Wednesday, November 15 – stole over $700,000 in contract revenue that they should have paid to employees on those projects, by paying workers an estimated $13.25 to $25 an hour without overtime or benefits, instead of the mandated $54 plus benefits.

“These defendants got lucrative public works contracts and then shamefully stole money from their own employees,” said Gonzalez. “In Brooklyn, we will not allow hard-earned wages to be stolen from hardworking employees. This decision to steal wages turned out to be a very costly theft for these defendants and should serve as notice to others considering cheating employees that they will be prosecuted.”

Riglietti will be sentenced to five years’ probation and the company will receive a conditional discharge. Both will be debarred from public works contracts for five years and agreed to forfeit $2.5 million. Of that, over $700,000 will be distributed to five workers; $500,000, including penalties, will go to the state agencies that were defrauded by misrepresentations made to the New York State Insurance Fund and to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board; $28,000 will go to the New York City School Construction Authority for the cost of its investigation; $45,739 will go to the Office of the New York State Comptroller for the cost of its investigation; and the remainder will be forfeited to the district attorney’s office.

The defendants will be sentenced on March 28, 2018.

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