2012-07-12 / Front Page

Mahopac man sentenced to prison for underpaying workers

But released due to time already served
Eric Gross

Some say a Mahopac man may have gotten off easy after being sentenced to four months in prison and walking out of the Putnam Courthouse last Friday a free man for time already served after pleading guilty to underpaying workers on public works projects his company managed at LaGuardia Airport.

William Mazzella was sentenced in Putnam County Court by Judge James Reitz for illegally shortchanging workers by reimbursing them less than half of the wages required by law.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who prosecuted the case, said restitution totaling $800,000 would be made to the underpaid workers: "Paying employees less than the law requires and then lying about it in official documents is not a mistake or a paperwork problem but criminal behavior. Mr. Mazzella ripped off hardworking New Yorkers. When contractors bid on a public project involving taxpayer dollars they must play by the rules."

The felony complaint fled in the Mazzella case alleged that Decora Construction operated as a masonry subcontractor from an office in Mahopac while performing work on the projects at the airport.

Decora submitted certified payroll reports to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stating that all workers were paid required prevailing wages of between $50.54 per hour and $79.54 per hour but in reality received no more than $25 an hour.

Mazzella was indicted in March on five felony counts that included grand larceny, violation of the New York State Labor Law, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing.

Mazzella had faced up to 15 years in state prison had he not agreed to the plea bargain before the judge.

Attempts to reach Mazzella were unsuccessful since the phone company advised he has an unlisted telephone number.

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