A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea Of Chinatown Bus Company Owners For Failing To Pay Workers
Workers Received No Wages For An Entire Month Of Work
NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the guilty pleas and sentencing of Guo Wei Lin, Lei Shi, Ming Gao and Sky Express Inc. for failing to pay their workers who drove buses from New York to points in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Carolina. Lin, Shi, Gao and Sky Express Inc. admitted to a misdemeanor count of Failure to Pay Wages in violation of Labor Law Section 198-a(1).
Lin, Shi and Gao owned and operated Sky Express Inc., a discount bus company based in Manhattan’s Chinatown that drove passengers to and from casinos and other destinations outside of New York. The Defendants failed to pay at least 13 employees the wages they were owed, which amounted to over $40,035. Sky Express Inc. stopped operating after one of its buses was involved in a fatal accident in Virginia on May 31, 2011, and numerous workers were left jobless and were paid nothing at all for the work they had performed throughout the entire month of May 2011.
"Paying wages is the most basic obligation of an employer to his or her employees,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Employers like Lin, Shi and Gao can’t walk away from this legal and moral responsibility, and they will be held accountable."
The defendants were:
- Guo Wei Lin, 37, owner, of Fresh Meadows, Queens;
- Lei Shi, 39, owner, of Fresh Meadows, Queens; and
- Ming Gao, 43, owner, of Fresh Meadows, Queens.
Lin, Shi and Gao paid $40,035 in restitution in back wages to their former employees.
They were sentenced by the Hon. Steven M. Statsinger to a conditional discharge. As part of the sentence, the defendants were ordered to pay the restitution and perform 5 days each of community service.
The Defendants were arrested yesterday and charged with thirteen counts of Failure to Pay Wages, a class "A" misdemeanor. The maximum penalty that the defendants faced on the A Misdemeanor was a term of imprisonment of one year and fines of $500 to $5,000.
New York's wage and hour laws require that employers pay workers for all work that is performed. The law requires employers to pay at least the state minimum wage of $7.25 per hour plus time-and-a-half for overtime hours.
The investigation was conducted by New York Attorney General Investigators Bradford Farrell and Sixto Santiago under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Kenneth Morgan and Deputy Chief Vito Spano.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Holt, under the supervision of Labor Bureau Section Chief Felice Sontupe, Bureau Chief Terri Gerstein, Executive Deputy Attorney for Social Justice Alvin Bragg, Executive Deputy Attorney for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan and First Deputy of Affirmative Litigation Janet Sabel.