Construction firm manager admits role in $1M payroll scam
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A payroll manager for a northern New Jersey construction company has admitted his role in a scheme that deprived employees of more than $1 million in wages.
Toni Jovanoski pleaded guilty Thursday in state Superior Court to corporate official misconduct and violating prevailing wage rules on public works projects. He was scheduled for sentencing on June 4.
Prosecutors alleged that for about five years beginning in 2013, the 44-year-old Montvale resident demanded kickbacks from employees of Saddle Brook-based UniMak by inserting a note in their paychecks describing how much cash they were required to give him. Future paychecks were contingent on the employees paying the kickbacks, according to the attorney general’s office.
The kickbacks reduced the employees’ pay to below the prevailing wage rates required by law. Jovanoski also failed to pay employees for regular hours and overtime hours they’d logged, according to the attorney general’s office.
Under his plea agreement, the state will recommend that Jovanoski serve a five-year probation term. He also will pay more than $23,000 in back taxes.
UniMak reached an agreement last month to pay more than $1 million to seven employees who were cheated out of wages. Jovanoski is partially liable for those payments.
A message was left Thursday with an attorney representing Jovanoski.