Cuomo announced the arrest of Queens contractor Kostas “Gus” Andrikopoulos, of Hara Electric Corporation

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 12, 2010) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest of Queens contractor Kostas “Gus” Andrikopoulos, of Hara Electric Corporation, who allegedly failed to pay more than $2 million in wages to employees who worked on numerous schools throughout New York City.

Beginning in June 2005, Hara Electric Corporation entered into a series of contracts with the New York City School Construction Authority to do electrical work on schools throughout the five boroughs. In all, Hara was awarded 9 contracts and was hired as a subcontractor on 32 projects.

Government contracts in New York State require contractors to submit certified weekly payroll reports as a condition of payment. With each request for payment, Hara submitted certified weekly payroll reports, signed by Andrikopoulos. The investigation revealed that most of the workers listed on the submitted payrolls never worked for Hara. Instead, Andrikopoulos and Hara were paying the employees who were actually doing the work far less than the amounts they were reporting.

“This employer pocketed millions of dollars of taxpayer money and stole from his own workers in the process,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “To deny workers their rightful wages is illegal and wrong, and it will not be tolerated. Employers should be on notice that they must pay legal wages or they will face the consequences.”

Attorney General Cuomo thanked the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”) for its assistance in the investigation.

DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said, “A contractor whose business strategy is to steal money, underpay his workers, and pad his payroll on City jobs, will earn an arrest, criminal prosecution, and possibly a prison sentence. DOI will continue to work with Attorney General Cuomo and his staff to root out City contractors who fleece their workers and the taxpayers.”

Andrikopoulos is charged with Grand Larceny in the First Degree (a class B felony), which carries a possible sentence of up to 25 years in prison. He is also charged with a Labor Law felony for underpaying workers contracted by the State or local government, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. In addition, he is charged with 385 counts of Falsifying Business Documents in the First Degree (a class E felony), 385 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing (a class E felony), and 12 counts of Failure to Pay Wages (a class A misdemeanor).

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Rachel Gold; Investigators Andres Rodrigues and Louis Carter, supervised by Georgia Nurse; and Investigators Lee Callier and James O’Brien of the School Construction Authority Office of the Inspector General. The case is being supervised by Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice James Rogers; Deputy Criminal Prosecutions Bureau Chief Felice Sontupe; and Labor Bureau Chief Patricia Kakalec.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.