Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Jr., today announced the indictment of four interior construction companies, their owners, and a manager, for a conspiracy to evade more than $1.7 million in workers’ compensation insurance premiums over five years by creating a $20 million, off-the-books, cash payroll. As alleged, SOLOMON FEDER, 35, CHAIM LEIFER, 43, their companies BIG APPLE DESIGNERS, INC., and VELOCITY FRAMERS USA, INC., and manager MOSHE “MOSES” WEINBERGER, 31, colluded with CARLOS SANTANDER, 46, and others, to issue checks made payable to SANTANDER’s two companies, CIS ENTERPRISES CORP and CIS CONSTRUCTION LLC. SANTANDER then cashed the checks at commercial check cashing businesses, and paid BIG APPLE and VELOCITY workers with envelopes of cash – enabling the companies to underreport their true payrolls to the New York State Insurance Fund (“NYSIF”), and avoid paying required premiums.
“All workers deserve to be fully protected in the event of an on-site injury – especially in an industry as dangerous as construction,” said District Attorney Bragg. “As alleged in this indictment, instead of securing coverage for their workers, these defendants used a multi-million dollar off-the-books compensation scheme to avoid paying premiums, leaving their employees uninsured for years. My Office’s Rackets Bureau is ensuring that workers have both the safety precautions and workers’ compensation protections they need to do their jobs without fear.”
According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, FEDER and LEIFER owned interior construction companies BIG APPLE and VELOCITY FRAMERS, and employed WEINBERGER to manage the companies’ day-to-day operations. From January 2016 to December 2020, they colluded with SANTANDER and others to issue checks made payable to SANTANDER’s companies. SANTANDER then cashed those checks – totaling approximately $20 million – at a commercial check cashing business. SANTANDER and others would pay BIG APPLE and VELOCITY workers with envelopes of cash handed out at construction sites, including the site of a new 13-story residential building in Downtown Brooklyn, and other locations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.