Three family members hired to complete construction jobs in New York City public schools are now the subjects of an eight-count indictment after authorities alleged that they weren’t paying “proper prevailing wages” to their workers. According to a Dec. 4, 2017 press release from the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Vickram Mangru, his wife, Gayatri Mangru, and their son, Ravi Mangru, all of Valley Stream, are also accused of falsifying business records as they relate to construction projects that were publicly-funded. Consumers’ rights attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, whose skills have been tested during jury trials across courtrooms in New York, takes interest in this case. That’s because he previously obtained a successful verdict following a May 2010 jury trial involving a dispute between two construction contractors. Mr. Benjamin understands that this is a competitive field, especially in New York City, but workers require fair compensation at the end of the day.
According to the press release, the New York City Department of Education Division of School Facilities brought both Vick Construction and AVM Construction Corp. aboard for repair work at schools in the Bronx between 2012 and 2015. These two entities, which were run by the Mangru trio, would eventually be responsible for a combined underpayment of $281,630.09. That total is split among an unspecified number of former employees of both of the construction companies. Authorities say that workers on publicly-funded job sites must receive a “prevailing wage rate.” This allegedly wasn’t the case so the eight-count indictment is a step in the right direction, according to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “These defendants allegedly underpaid their employees for years – and tried to evade the law by closing down one sham business and opening up another. We have zero tolerance for this sort of behavior, and will continue to ensure all New Yorkers are paid a fair wage for a fair day’s work,” he said in the press release.
Attorney Jeffrey Benjamin, who is also well-versed in breach of contract and deceptive practice cases, will closely follow this case as it makes its way through the courts. As a skilled consumers’ rights attorney who is very familiar with construction law, he feels the fact that these workers were being essentially robbed of compensation for truly trying tasks simply isn’t fair. Given that the motto of his law firm is “Don’t be a victim. Fight fraud, pursue your legal rights,” it’s easy to see why he’s interested in seeing this case through to its culmination. Authorities say that each of the defendants could face between 2 and 7 years in prison if found guilty of the most egregious violations.