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Contractor sentenced to probation
Rochester, N.Y. --- On Monday, a Penfield-based contractor arrested for failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in health and retirement benefits for dozens of workers on public projects accepted a sentence of five years on probation.
The sentence came after Robert Valerino pled guilty to grand larceny and falsifying business records charges.
"He's suffered enormously throughout this process, Valerinos lawyer Sarah Wesley said. Both his professional reputation, his personal relationships this has been devastating for him but I'm glad at this point he can begin to put it past him.
A 2010 New York State Department of Labor press release, complete with a video explanation of the case and alleged crimes, details the allegations against Valerino.
LINK HERE: http://www.labor.state.ny.us/pressreleases/2010/sept09_2010.shtm#
Valerino led a company called Western New York Contractors and was involved in many public works projects. The criminal charges stemmed from two of those public projects, work at Penfield High School and work on the Penfield sewer system.
Valerinos lawyer explained that her client had paid more than $200,000 to entities and agencies to ensure that everyone was made whole. She said no individual worker or otherwise was cheated out of any money.
"There was no individual loss here, Wesley said of the case. No workers were harmed; no one was out any money.
In response to the sentencing of Valerino Chris White, the Director of Communications for the New York State Department of Labor provided this statement to 13WHAM News:
Public work contracts ensure contractors and subcontractors pay the prevailing wage and supplements to their workers under the law. Todays sentencing shows that contractors are legally obligated to honor their contracts with workers. When you break the law at the expense of workers you will be caught, prosecuted and required to pay those workers what they earned. Cheating workers from wages and benefits that are rightfully theirs is not how we do business here in New York State.
Last year, the Department of Labor distributed more than $15 million in wages and interest to more than 5,800 workers in public work cases. 2013 saw a record number of workers paid, a record number of employers found to be willfully violating the prevailing wage laws and a record number of individuals and entities barred from bidding on public work in the future.