Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Attorney General
State AG Barbara Underwood said that Wong stiffed five employees out of a total of more than $29,000 in wages.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A Queens contractor has been arrested for allegedly failing to pay five construction workers for hourly work, State Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced on Thursday.
Shing Tung Wong, 63, and WWJ Construction, Inc.were charged with collectively stealing more than $29,000 from their employees by repeatedly lying to the workers about eventually receiving full compensation.
According to court records, Wong was arraigned on Thursday on a six-count felony complaint that charges him and WWJ with three counts of third-degree grand larceny, two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny,and one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on Oct. 23.
According to the complaint, between Jan. 1, 2014 and June 22, 2017, Wong allegedly personally hired five workers and promised a specific rate of pay ranging from $130 to $160 per day for five to six days of work each week. Wong ran the day-to-day operations of his company and arranged for most employees to meet at a predetermined location in Queens, where he or other workers would drive them all to various construction projects in the New York region – including Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island, and Westchester. Workers performed carpentry, demolition, renovations, and electrical work, primarily for residential homes.
After the first few weeks of a worker’s employment, Wong allegedly stopped making weekly wage payments to them. When workers asked about their earned wages, Wong repeatedly promised that payment was imminent and asked them to continue to work based on this promise. Workers waited for full compensation week after week, but Wong only allegedly paid them sporadically or not at all. Workers continually asked Wong for their wages, and Wong would allegedly promise them that payment was coming when he received payment from the client. Eventually, workers quit after not receiving their earned and legally owed wages.
Even after workers quit, they still attempted to contact Wong to demand owed wages—but Wong allegedly ignored their requests for payment.
According to Underwood, since 2011, the AG’s office has recovered more than $30 million in stolen wages for 21,000 workers across the Empire State.