A husband and wife team who run an Orange County-based contracting firm have been charged with cheating at least 21 of their workers out of about $190,000 as they worked on municipal sewer projects in Rockland County, according to District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.
The Special Investigations Unit of the Rockland County District Attorney's Office and the state Labor Department began investigating Schenley Construction after receiving several complaints that the firm was not paying its employees the required prevailing wage.
“These defendants are accused of unjustly enriching themselves at the expense of their own workers," Zugibe said. "Contractors doing business in Rockland County are legally required to pay their employees fair and prevailing wages. This office is firmly committed to enforcing the prevailing wage laws of New York and ensuring that the rights of workers are protected.”
As a result of the probe, Kenneth Deaver, 54, and Diane Deaver, 49, of 29 Crystal Farm Drive, Warwick, who do business as Schenley Construction, are each charged with:
• 1 count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class “C” Felony
• 10 counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, class “D” Felonies
• 1 count of Willful Failure to Pay Prevailing Wage, a class “D” Felony
• 6 counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, class “E” Felonies
• 31 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class “E” Felonies
• 4 counts of Petit Larceny, class “A” Misdemeanors
Zugibe said Kenneth and Diane Deaver had three separate contracts with different municipalities in Rockland County between 2008 and 2010. As provided by the New York State Labor Law, and under the terms of the contracts, they were required to pay all of the employees at the construction sites the prevailing wage, depending upon what type of job they were performing.
They were also required to provide the workers with benefits, such as health insurance, or the pay the cash equivalent of the benefits, Zugibe said.
The Town of Clarkstown, the Village of Hillburn and the Village of Sloatsburg paid the Deavers for the work completed falsely believing they were paying the correct prevailing wage to their workers, Zugibe said. Instead, the Deavers are accused of regularly stealing money from the municipalities that was due to the workers, and pocketing a portion of it in violation of the law.
Zugibe said the Deavers falsified payroll information submitted to Clarkstown, Hillburn and Sloatsburg. And, that certified payrolls submitted failed to list which employees were actually working at the job sites and contained false information on dates and hours worked by employees.
Kenneth and Diane Deaver were arrested Friday on a sealed indictment handed up by a Rockland County Grand Jury. They were arraigned today in Rockland County Supreme Court by the Jusge William A. Kelly, who set bail at $75,000 cash bail or $150,000 bond.
The Deavers are scheduled to appear in court in New City again on Jan. 18. They face up to 15 years in prison, if convicted.