by Willie Simpson on Jul 9th, 2013
The owner of the Long Island based Royal Commercial Cleaning company was arrested last week after failing to pay his workers minimum wage, due overtime and back wages, as well as soliciting kickbacks for court ordered reimbursements. As a result, Jose Hector Hernandez Gramajo faces up to seven years in prison.
Gramajo was caught ripping off employees he hired to clean the United Artists Sheepshead Bay Stadium 14 movie theater (3907 Shore Parkway), and has been charged with Grand Larceny and Scheme to Defraud among other crimes.
As a result of a previous federal investigation, Gramajo owed employees thousands of dollars in back wages. When writing out checks, he ordered workers to slide it right back to him – under the table – or risk termination:
In November 2011 and because of a previous investigation by the United States Department of Labor, Hernandez owed a total of nearly $87,000, including for back wages to some of his 33 employees. According to the Attorney General’s criminal complaint, filed today, Hernandez gave those employees checks for more than $3,000 and told them to cash the checks and return the money to him. Hernandez told the employees that if they didn’t return the money they would not have jobs.
Gramajo was also accused, again, of not paying his employees overtime, paying them flat rates of $700 to $800 a week. The employees worked eight hours a day, seven days a week. This rate ended up lower than New York’s required minimum wage, set at $7.25 an hour.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman was harsh in announcing the charges leveled against Gramajo and his company.
“A federal agency caught this employer underpaying his employees and even after that, he continued breaking the law. In New York, such disrespect for rule of law and disrespect for workers’ rights will get you arrested,” Schneiderman said in the release.