The owner of a Long Island, New York construction firm was charged with nearly 140 felony and misdemeanor counts of fraud Thursday, prosecutors said, in connection with bilking employees of more than $250,000 in union benefits while working at Kennedy Airport.
Kenneth Padover, 56, of Arbor Concrete Corp. was arrested at his Dix Hills home and arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on 136 felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing and falsifying business records and three misdemeanor counts of failure to pay wages, said state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in a news release. He faces up to 4 years in prison if convicted, officials said.
Specifically, Padover is accused of filing 68 certified payroll records with the general contractor and with the Port Authority indicating that over the 16-month life of the project, Arbor Concrete Corp. was routinely paying the required supplemental benefits to the union welfare funds for Laborers Local 66 and Carpenters Local 290, which represented the employees on the project.
Investigators for the Port Authority Inspectors General’s Office, who are charged with insuring compliance with state and federal laws, conducted an investigation and determined that the certified payroll records on file were allegedly false in that Padover and Arbor Concrete Corp. allegedly failed to pay the $268,055.78 in required benefits as sworn in its certified payroll records.
Padover was sued by the Cement and Concrete Workers District Council Welfare Fund in 2014, showing a history of bidding jobs as a union employer, then hiring non-union workers.
He is due back in court on May 16.
The arrest comes after an investigation revealed that Padover’s firm violated the state’s “prevailing wage” law that requires employers and contractors to compensate their employees with wages and “supplements” including insurance, pension contributions or other benefits, or their cash equivalent, to employees performing federally funded construction projects,” Schneiderman’s office said.
The criminal complaint against Padover says he paid wages adequately during the construction project from June 2013 to October 2014 at Kennedy’s Delta Air Lines terminal, but denied workers $268,055.78 in benefits. It alleges he filed 68 certified payroll records with the general contractor and with the Port Authority, pledging Arbor Concrete Corp. was paying the supplemental benefits to the union welfare funds for Laborers Local 66 and Carpenters Local 290, which represented the employees on the project.
A review of the records by the Port Authority’s inspector general’s office, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, found the documents were false.
“My office will not sit idly by when New York workers are cheated out of their health benefits, vacation pay and potential pension income,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
“The defendant allegedly chose to enrich himself at the expense of his own workers,” said Port Authority Inspector General Michael Nestor. “This arrest will serve notice to all contractors that the PA will not tolerate wage fraud or any other criminal misconduct on public projects.”