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LIC construction company heads accused of underpaying workers

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The heads of a Long Island City construction company were arrested last week and charged with bilking workers out of more than $600,000 in pay while repairing subway stations, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.

Merkourios Angeliades, 67, owner of M.A. Angeliades Inc., was indicted along with Vice President Dimitri Malakidis, 56, and Vice President Irena Angeliades, 35, on charges including grand larceny, offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and bribery, the DA said.

If convicted, the three Long Island residents face up to 15 years in prison, Morgenthau said.

Also indicted were three employees — Anthony Graham, 47, of Brooklyn; Harold Johnson, 46, of Laurelton; and Eduardo Visone, 32, of Brooklyn — on charges of falsifying business records. Graham was also charged with receiving a bribe.

They face up to four years in prison, the DA said.

Angeliades’ attorney, Barry Bohrer, was not available for comment by press time Tuesday.

M.A. Angeliades, which focused on large public works projects, won four Metropolitan Transportation Authority contracts to renovate 11 subway stations throughout the city.

State labor laws required Angeliades to pay his workers the prevailing wage and benefit rates. Instead, between January 2005 and December 2007, the company paid employees a flat $20 an hour for all work, including weekend and overtime hours, the DA said.

To hide this from the MTA, the defendants falsified payroll reports to omit the overtime and weekend hours, paying employees with cash envelopes for this off−the−books work, the DA said.

Merkourios Angeliades also allegedly bribed Graham, the union shop steward, to falsify his labor records to match, and a witness to convince him not to cooperate with investigators, Morgenthau said.

The MTA’s inspector general began investigating the company after receiving several complaints from workers.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 6:33 pm, October 10, 2011
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