A New Jersey landscape company owner has been charged in a 56-count indictment with swindling his workers out of $82,000 in state-mandated wages.
Christopher Greco, 51, owner of Cross Country Landscape and Tree Service, was hired to perform tree removal work at five Rockland County, New York, government departments. The Rockland County government paid Greco, but he failed to pay nine of his employees the amount mandated by New York state labor law.
District Attorney Thomas Zugibe claims that Greco stole the money that was intended for his employees and kept it for himself. The landscaper also is accused of falsifying payroll information he submitted to the county. The payrolls failed to list who was working at the job sites and included false records of dates and hours worked.
Greco is currently charged with six felony counts of third-degree grand larceny, one felony count of fourth-degree grand larceny, 48 felony counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and a misdemeanor count of petty larceny.
If convicted, Greco could face seven years in state prison and be forced to pay $171,669.
Zugibe’s Special Investigations Unit was first alerted to Greco after complaints. His office has been focused on contractors who shortchange consumers and skirt prevailing wage laws.
“Firms doing business with the County of Rockland are obligated to pay their workers legally prevailing wages, which include salary and supplemental benefits,” Zugibe told The Journal News. “Cases like this demonstrate that we are vigilant in uncovering such criminal conduct and that unscrupulous contractors will get caught and have to pay the consequences for cheating workers out of their rightful wages.”
Greco was arrested on Monday and released without bail by County Court Judge David Zuckerman. He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 23.