Pursuant to a joint criminal investigation with the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Green Light Electric Systems, Inc. (GLE), a Florida corporation and former subcontractor on a Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) construction project, Abel Demien, the President, Director and Treasurer of GLE, and Leysis Forte, a GLE office employee, have all been charged with a variety of criminal offenses derived from complaints alleging that GLE was underpaying its employees in violation of the County’s Responsible Wages and Benefits Ordinance (Wage Ordinance).
GLE, Demien, and Forte surrendered to the court today and their cases were closed. Pursuant to a plea agreement, GLE and Demien will be reimbursing those individuals who are missing wages over $153,842.97. This amount represents back wages owed for the time period of July 2011 through November 18, 2014. In addition, Demien and GLE will pay approximately $22,000 to the Miami-Dade Aviation Department for the costs of the investigation. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 349 provided assistance in this matter that helped bring this fraudulent violation of the Miami-Dade County ordinance into the light of day.
Miami-Dade Aviation Department’s Minority Affairs Section monitors contractors and subcontractors at the Miami International Airport (MIA) to ensure that minority goals are being met and contractors are in compliance with the County’s Wage Ordinance. Through the use of duplicate records and false paychecks, Green Light Electric President Abel Demien deliberately underpaid his electrical workers on a variety of County contracts. With the assistance of GLE office employee Leysis Forte, false paychecks were created and supplied to County Monitors as evidence that all County wage requirements were met. SAO and OIG investigators proved the documents false in the course of the criminal investigation.
As part of the plea agreement and in addition to reimbursing its employees for back wages,
Green Light Electric and Abel Demien will be debarred from participating in any County construction contracts for 5 years. Additionally, Leysis Forte will self-report to the Notary Commission that she has committed notary fraud, surrender her notary commission, and stipulate that she is disqualified from holding the office of Notary Public in the future.
Any employee who is working on construction contracts subject to Miami-Dade County’s Responsible Wage Act and feel they have been cheated out of their proper compensation, should contact the Miami-Dade County Internal Services Department’s Small Business Division Contract Monitoring & Compliance Section for assistance.
“Miami-Dade County has made it a priority to establish wage and minority hiring guidelines in all of its construction contracts,” noted State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Abel Demien and Green Light Electric Systems agreed to these wage guidelines, then worked deliberately to undercut them and later attempted to cover up their actions. Individual complaints aided by the activities of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers led to the uncovering of these actions and a court-supervised return of these wages to the workers who actually earned them. Citizen assistance, always something sought by law enforcement, helped bring the crimes into the open.”
“Cheating your workers of their rightful pay will result in prosecution and debarment if you contract with the County. We have zero tolerance for the victimization of our workers; that is why the Board of County Commissioners enacted this ordinance,” stated Miami-Dade County Inspector General Mary Cagle.
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