A Brooklyn contractor allegedly screwed his workers out of $100,000, according to an indictment by Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson. The contractor, who operated the company Bale Out Enterprises, allegedly attempted to bail out on paying 70 workers as they renovated a former hospital.
“This defendant preyed on and exploited people who needed to work to provide for their families and denied them wages that they rightfully earned after weeks of labor," District Attorney Thompson said in a statement. "We will not allow the hardworking people of Brooklyn to get ripped off by anyone, including any dishonest employer.
The contractor, Anthony Miller, 51, told workers in early 2013 that he planned to convert a Crown Heights hospital into a center for veterans’ services, which would also have housing, a medical clinic and daycare. Prosecutors say he promised to pay the workers $12-20 per hour and up to $56,000 for foremen. Miller even told the demolition and construction crew that they would all have ownership interest in the center and permanent jobs. Despite these outlandish claims, it was only after Miller allegedly failed to pay for the first few weeks of work that workers became suspicious.
After going weeks without pay, Miller finally handed out checks during the first week of February. There was just one problem: there were no funds in the account the checks were drawing from. The workers were never paid.
The indictment was the first one handed out by the Labor Frauds Unit, a new division of the District Attorney's office launched by DA Thompson to crack down on employers who commit wage theft and unemployment insurance fraud, along with a variety of other labor violations.