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Know Your Rights
Source: Daily News
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Judge soaks Bx. owner of car wash

A Bronx car-wash owner who failed to pay his workers minimum wage will spend weekends in jail for the next four months.

Alex Moreno, who ran a Getty car wash and gas station in Mount Eden, got jail time last week after pleading guilty in May to breaking labor laws.

Washers said he paid them only $4 an hour with no overtime for 12-hour days and six-day weeks.

A Bronx Supreme Court judge sentenced Moreno to three years probation in the felony case, prosecuted by the state attorney general’s office. He will have to pay his stiffed workers $150,000 in restitution.

“This car-wash owner’s utter disregard for our labor laws resulted in a criminal conviction and landed him in jail,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a statement.

“This prosecution makes clear that dishonest employers of low-wage workers are not above the law.”

Moreno is the latest employer to get jail time as Schneiderman cracks down on labor violators.

Last month, the co-owners and manager of a LaGuardia Airport construction firm got four months in jail for bilking workers. A Brooklyn tortilla factory owner who recently pleaded guilty to felony labor violations also faces 90 days in jail.

Moreno, who was arrested in 2009, pleaded guilty this summer to underpaying employees, going without workers’ compensation insurance for five months and not listing all employees on the books when filing taxes.

Moreno could not be reached Sunday. He no longer owns the gas station, which is currently listed for sale online.

“We’re thrilled that the attorney general is really treating wage theft like the crime that it is,” said Deborah Axt of nonprofit Make the Road New York, which is campaigning to improve conditions for car-wash workers.

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