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Payroll Fraud Crackdown in Stamford Connecticut

An article in the Stamford Advocate reported that state and federal Department of Labor Officials and OSHA representatives assisted by local police cracked down on four major construction sites in the Stamford area on Wednesday, January 23.

The police were called into the activity to keep workers from leaving the sites until they were interviewed.  In the past, such raids resulted in little results as workers drifted off site or were transported to other sites to avoid the interviews.

According to the article, over 180 workers were interviewed during the sweep which was targeted at companies who are suspected of payroll fraud.  While the final findings have not yet been released, it was found that one subcontractor company with a crew working on a 227-unit apartment project, Heritage Sheetrock, had not paid 10 of their workers for 3 weeks.

Gary Pechie, director of the Connecticut Department of Labor's Wages and Workplace Standards Division said that: “In mid-November, state labor inspectors visited the Tresser Boulevard site where Greenfield is building a five-story luxury apartment building and found 22 workers out of 40 hired by a Texas rebar outfit who could not produce Social Security cards and were being paid under the table.  A stop-work order was placed on the job.”

Pechie said, “We are trying to stop people cheating.  Not playing by the rules.  We are trying to help the legitimate contractors and employees.  We are certainly trying to help the labor force in Connecticut.  There are a lot of people looking for work, so why do you have to bring 100 workers up from Texas, which was what we heard was going on here.”

It will be interesting to learn what will result from these inspections, as Connecticut seeks new ways to enforce construction labor laws.

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