In one case of failing to pay workers, a Danbury businessman, Douglas Agnessanto, of Performance Cleaners, 1 Padanaram Road, owed $26,896.87 to three workers for work they did in 2009, according to Danbury Superior Court records. He didn’t pay the workers.
The state Department of Labor’s Wage Enforcement Division began investigating after receiving a complaint from the three workers on Nov. 20, 2009.
Blair Bertaccini, the wage enforcement officer who investigated these cases, said office cleaning services, construction, restaurants, landscaping and chimney cleaning firms have more complaints than other firms.
“It seems to be on-going for much of the last decade,” Bertaccini said. Attempts to reach Agnessanto Monday were unsuccessful.
Following the state investigation and work with the in , Agnessanto was charged with three counts of failure to pay wages from August 2009 to November 2009. He was also charged with three misdemeanors for defrauding alien workers of wages. One worker was Hispanic and the other two were Portuguese.
Each of the three workers provided evidence of the hours they worked and the money they’d been paid. Agnessanto pleaded guilty.
“Keep a record of the hours and the days worked in a notebook,” Bertaccini said. “Get the name of your employer, the locations where you worked and your co-workers. If it’s a restaurant, it’s easy.”
The tougher ones to prove are the construction fraud cases, where a worker is driven to a site. They may not even know the name of the town or street address.
The 2009 case against Agnessanto was the second case pending against him that year. In an earlier case, Agnessanto was accused of failing to pay four other workers a total of $63,474.38, according to court documents.
“This guy may go to jail,” Bertaccini said.
Bertaccini said the $60,000 figure isn’t the highest he’s seen, and it isn’t even uncommon. He has a case pending in New Haven Superior Court where three workers are owed $140,000 and that company owner was also arrested.
Agnessanto’s next scheduled court date is June 1, his sentencing, and court paperwork says he faces from zero time up to five years in prison and he must pay restitution.