Albany, NY (May 10, 2010) -
State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner and Broome County District Attorney Gerald F. Mollen announced today the arrest of a contractor who allegedly failed to pay legally-required wages on public works projects, and then filed false payroll documents with the State Department of Labor. The charges resulted from a nine-month joint investigation by the Department of Labor and the District Attorney of Broome County.
Charles Zimmer, Jr. (62), of 498 Cayuta Avenue, Waverly, New York, was charged in the City Court of Binghamton with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and four counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Conviction of these crimes could result in a sentence of up to 7 years in state prison.
"Our prevailing wage laws insure that workers on public work projects receive a fair wage," said Commissioner Gardner. "They also make sure that taxpayers have skilled workers on public work projects. Employers who don't pay prevailing wages profit unfairly by not properly paying their workers and cheating the taxpayers. And, they often undercut honest businesses in the bidding process for public work projects."
Gardner also said, "We thank District Attorney Mollen for his willingness to work with us and aggressively pursue these cases. Prosecutions like this send a clear message that we will continue to aggressively enforce state labor laws and protect New York's workers."
Zimmer, a road construction contractor, worked on public projects in and around Binghamton, including one at the Greater Binghamton Airport. Under New York State's prevailing wage laws, wage schedules for workers on all public work projects are set by the Department of Labor. Contractors must file certified payrolls, including who performed the work and how much the employee was paid in wages and benefits.
The investigation found that certified payrolls filed by the defendant with the Department of Labor's Office of Public Works in Binghamton failed to list all workers at several job sites. In addition, the investigation produced evidence that Zimmer failed to pay the prevailing rate of pay on any of his public projects. Failure to pay prevailing wages to workers on public work projects can constitute larceny under New York law.
"The prevailing wage laws are meant to protect both the workers and the integrity of public work projects," said Mollen. "My office is committed to investigating and prosecuting any violations of laws involving public work projects in Broome County."
Additional information concerning prevailing wage laws and public work projects, including contractor debarred lists, is available at the Department of Labor's web-site: