Landscaper avoids jail in fraud case; must pay fine, restitution

Updated Oct 30, 2015
Richard Orvieto Photo: ag.ny.govRichard Orvieto

A New York landscaper who pleaded guilty to wage theft and defrauding the state was sentenced Wednesday, Oct. 28, to three years’ probation and 50 hours of community service. He also was fined and ordered to pay full restitution.

Richard Orvieto, owner of Double “O” Landscaping in Stony Brook, must pay restitution of $13,032 to three former employees and $19,856.64 to the New York State Department of Labor, according to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

Between Aug. 24, 2011, and Jan. 31, 2014, Orvieto hired workers to do landscaping and light construction services, but he failed to pay them overtime when the employees worked more than 40 hours in a week.

Orvieto also fired three workers in late 2013 and refused to pay them any wages for their last week of work.

Prosecutors say he paid his workers’ wages in cash and did not make required payments for unemployment insurance, defrauding the state of almost $12,000.

Refusing to pay workers is misdemeanor and failure to report all wages paid when filing tax forms is a felony.

“It doesn’t matter if you own a restaurant or a landscaping company – you must pay your workers the money they are owed and pay them on the books,” Schneiderman said. “My office will continue to crack down on wage theft and return earnings that rightfully belong to the workers.”

Orvieto was arrested in June and could have faced up to four years in jail on the charges.

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