REMY BUILDERS CORPORATION, and its owner RICHARD MARTINEZ, 43, were indicted

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment of a Long Island City-based general contracting firm, REMY BUILDERS CORPORATION, and its principal for defrauding 16 employees out of over $450,000 in unpaid wages and benefits.

The defendants, REMY BUILDERS CORPORATION, and its owner RICHARD MARTINEZ, 43, were indicted on charges of grand larceny and offering false instruments for filing. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred between August 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009.

The investigation leading to today’s indictment revealed that REMY BUILDERS CORPORATION (REMY) is a sub-contractor involved in masonry work. The criminal conduct outlined in this indictment involved a subcontract to perform brick work at the Wagner Houses in Harlem. The contract involved complete facade renovation of 13 buildings owned by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). As provided by the New York State Labor Law, and under the terms of the contract, REMY was required to pay all of the employees working on this project the prevailing wage and supplemental benefit rate. Officials at Local 79 of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) brought the matter to the attention of the District Attorney’s Office after they discovered that a Local 79 shop steward had accepted a bribe in connection with the use of non-union labor by REMY at the project. That shop steward, Nathaniel Bethea, was separately indicted for Bribe Receiving by a Labor Official and his case is pending in State Supreme Court, Part 82. A subsequent investigation by the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit provided the District Attorney's Office with probable cause to obtain and execute a court-authorized search warrant at REMY’s offices in August of 2009.

The defendants in an attempt to conceal the underpayment of wages from NYCHA simply omitted the names of the 16 non-union employees that worked on the project when REMY submitted its monthly certified payroll reports. Essentially REMY and MARTINEZ pretended that these workers did not work at the Wagner Houses, despite the fact that they paid the workers by company check on the books. While they paid these 16 non-union workers by check and they were entitled to the prevailing wage rate of $51.54 for straight time and $61.72 per hour for overtime, they paid them at a rate of $18.75 for straight time and $28.13 per hour for overtime. Each month as part of the contract MARTINEZ submitted sworn affidavits that falsely claimed that he was paying his workers the required prevailing wage and benefits. All told, these16 workers were underpaid a total of $484,000 from August 1, 2008 through June 20, 2009 when MARTINEZ fired them in an attempt to conceal his underpayment. The investigation revealed that MARTINEZ took this measure shortly after he learned that this office had secured an indictment in a wage prosecution against M.A. Angeliades, a general contractor that had regularly employed REMY as a subcontractor.

Defendants REMY and MARTINEZ have been indicted on one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and 11 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree.

Mr. Morgenthau also announced the indictment of Nathaniel Bethea, a Local 79 shop steward working for REMY BUILDERS at the Wagner Houses. Bethea is charged with one count of Bribe Receiving by a Labor Official for accepting $300 from one of REMY’s non-union workers in exchange for not reporting to Local 79 that the worker was being paid less than the prevailing wage. The worker made a total of six $50 payments to Bethea after each payday. In return, Bethea did not report the fact that REMY was using non-union labor to Local 79 as he was required to do so as a shop steward.

These indictments are the result of continuing investigations by the District Attorney’s Labor Racketeering Unit-Construction Industry Strike Force into criminal activities in New York City’s construction industry and in particular ongoing efforts to combat violations of the New York State Labor Law.

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree is a class C felony punishable by up to 5 to 15 years in prison and Offering a False Instrument for Filing is a class E felony punishable by up to 1⅓ to 4 years in prison. Bribe Receiving by a Labor Official is a class D felony punishable by up to 2⅓ to 7 years in prison.

Defendant MARTINEZ was arrested this morning and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in State Supreme Court, Part 1.

Defendant Bethea’s case is currently pending. He was arraigned on October 6, 2009 and is scheduled to return to court on January 5, 2010.

Mr. Morgenthau thanked the New York State Police for their assistance in the investigation, including Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt, Special Investigation Unit Major Matthew S. Renneman, Lieutenant George Nohai and Lead Investigator Timothy Santiago, who was supervised by Senior Investigator Gustav Talleur.

Mr. Morgenthau also thanked Local 79 of the Laborers International Union of North America for its assistance in initiating the investigation; and New York City Housing Authority Acting Inspector General Kelvin Jeremiah for the assistance of his staff in the investigation.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Beard, Senior Investigative Counsel in the Labor Racketeering Unit is handling the prosecution under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michael Scotto, Chief of the Labor Racketeering Unit. Supervising Financial Investigator Sanchita Aggarwal also assisted in the investigation.

Defendants' Information:

RICHARD MARTINEZ, 12/1/1966
9 Hill Street
Bloomfield, New Jersey

REMY BUILDERS CORPORATION
26-36 18th Street
Queens, New York

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