Former Health Care Agency Owner To Provide $375K In Back Pay
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The Manhattan owner of a home health care agency was ordered to pay $375,000 in back pay to his former employees after getting them to work for free for months last year.
In an amateur video, Brightstar New York owner Christopher Luis is heard telling an employee, "Once this is over, and I don't want to commit to you, 'cause I'll say it and you'll hold me to it."
Prosecutors say the messages from Luis convinced many of his workers to stay on the job from March through September 2011, when the agency closed, even as they failed to receive paychecks.
Some of his former employees were on hand as Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that Luis had pleaded guilty to five counts of failure to pay wages.
Some recipients of the restitution for lost wages and damages said the money is desperately needed.
"I lost my apartment as a result of it, my bank accounts are all in arrears. I have to pay my student loans so I can get back into college in January, I have to pay that off. It's just been a total nightmare," said wage theft victim Victoria McLaurin.
Luis must also perform 100 hours of community service.