A husband and wife team who ran an Orange County-based contracting firm have been sentenced to probation and community service for a scheme in which at least 21 of their workers were cheated out of about $190,000 as they toiled on municipal sewer projects in Rockland County, according to District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.
The Special Investigations Unit of the Rockland County District Attorney's Office and the state Labor Department began investigating Schenley Construction after receiving several complaints that the firm was not paying its employees the required prevailing wage.
“The defendants in this case exploited hardworking, honest employees," Zugibe said. "Their failure to comply with wage laws and agreements victimized the most vulnerable low‐wage workers, while also hurting taxpayers and business owners who follow the law. Thanks to the diligence and efforts of prosecutors and investigators from my office and the State Labor Department, these individuals have been brought to justice and their victims have been fiscally restored.”
As a result of the probe, Kenneth Deaver, 54, and Diane Deaver, 49, of 29 Crystal Farm Drive, Warwick, who do business as Schenley Construction, were each charged with:
• 1 count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class “C” Felony
• 10 counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, class “D” Felonies
• 1 count of Willful Failure to Pay Prevailing Wage, a class “D” Felony
• 6 counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, class “E” Felonies
• 31 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, class “E” Felonies
• 4 counts of Petit Larceny, class “A” Misdemeanors
Kenneth Deaver pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree grand larceny, a felony, and he also pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree grand larceny on behalf of Schenley Construction. Diane Dever pleaded guilty to one count of petty larceny, a misdemeanor.
Kenneth Deaver was sentenced to five years probation and 210 hours of community service. Diane Dever was sentenced to three years probation and 110 hours of community service.
The sentence also requires them to pay $553,547.57 for underpayments to workers, interest and penalties to New York State. Zugibe said the payment covers thefts linked to three job sites in Rockland County and four other sites in Orange County.
The Deavers and Schenley Construction are barred from bidding on, or doing work on any public projects in New York State for five years, and they also agreed to forfeit two vehicles and $55,000 to the Rockland County District Attorney's Office.
Zugibe said Kenneth and Diane Deaver had three separate contracts with different municipalities in Rockland County between 2008 and 2010. As provided by the New York State Labor Law, and under the terms of the contracts, they were required to pay all of the employees at the construction sites the prevailing wage, depending upon what type of job they were performing.
They were also required to provide the workers with benefits, such as health insurance, or the pay the cash equivalent of the benefits, Zugibe said.
The Town of Clarkstown, the Village of Hillburn and the Village of Sloatsburg paid the Deavers for the work completed falsely believing they were paying the correct prevailing wage to their workers, Zugibe said. Instead, the Deavers are accused of regularly stealing money from the municipalities that was due to the workers, and pocketing a portion of it in violation of the law.
Zugibe said the Deavers falsified payroll information submitted to Clarkstown, Hillburn and Sloatsburg. And, that certified payrolls submitted failed to list which employees were actually working at the job sites and contained false information on dates and hours worked by employees.
Kenneth and Diane Deaver were arrested after a sealed indictment was handed up by a Rockland County Grand Jury.