A business owner was recently arrested for failing to secure workers’ compensation coverage, pay overtime wages and make required contributions to New York’s Unemployment Insurance Fund. He is also charged with submitting false statements to the Workers’ Compensation Board and the Department of Labor. The man arrested is the owner of a popular midtown pizza restaurant, known as Madrit’s Pronto Pizza.
Atmi Kurtishi, 48, president of Madrit’s Gourmet Restaurant, Inc., which operates Madrit’s Pronto Pizza failed to have workers’ compensation insurance while employing more than five employees. This offense is considered to be a violation of the new Workers’ Compensation Law that makes it a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in jail.
The Attorney General and the New York State Department of Labor charged him with 13 counts of fraud that are all class E felonies, for allegedly lying to state agencies by filing false documentation. Kurtishi has also been accused of failing to pay his employees overtime wages in the amount of $88, 350.55, which is a class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in prison. He faces fines and penalties of over $100,000, in addition to paying back his employees the wages they earned.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said that “Mr. Kurtishi’s decision to line his pockets with money, instead of providing his workers with the wages and benefits they earned, shows a blatant disregard for New York State’s workers’ compensation and labor laws. Today’s arrest sends a clear message that my office will aggressively prosecute all employers who seek to make their profits on the backs of their workers.”
Kurtishi’s arrest, which is the third arrest under New York’s new Workers’ Compensation Law, shows how far New York is willing to go to protect the basic rights of employees under the labor law.