(Edison)- Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that Ocean County construction contractor Albert Chwedczuk of Toms River, NJ has been sentenced to three years in State Prison by Superior Court Judge Mark K. Chase. Chwedczuk pleaded guilty on March 27, 2019 to second degree false contract claims in result of not paying approximately $155,166 in wages on a prevailing wage public contract. The Keystone + Mountain + Lakes Regional Council of Carpenters, who represent 13,000 Carpenters in the State of NJ reported Chwedczuk and provided information to help bring this case to court in front of Superior Court Judge Chase.

“This sentencing is a clear and powerful statement to unscrupulous contractors in the State of New Jersey, that if you cheat hard working men and women of their fair wages you will be punished,” William Sproule, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Keystone + Mountain + Lakes Regional Council of Carpenters, “Contractors like Chwedczuk commit fraud so that they can line their own pockets while our workers and the State loses out on needed revenue.”

In 2014, Chwedczuk was legally barred from obtaining or performing work on public contracts due to his prior violations of the Prevailing Wage Act with respect to his businesses Ren Construction LLC and Real Construction LLC. To get around this he used a new business entity he created, Bella Group LLC, to obtain a public subcontract worth $400,000 to provide masonry work for the Cooper Camden Student Housing project on South Broadway in Camden. Once Chwedczuk obtained the public subcontract using Bella Group LLC, he paid most of his employees only a fraction of the prevailing wages they were entitled to be paid, while not paying others at all.

“Our union is in the streets everyday making sure that the wage and safety standards that construction workers deserve are being respected on union and non-union jobs alike.” said Sproule, “Contractors like Chwedczuk always look for ways to get around the laws in place so they can become richer off the blood, sweat, and tears of the hard working people of New Jersey. It is not right and we will continue to do our job to protect New Jersey working families.”

“We are pleased with the strong enforcement of New Jersey’s Prevailing Wage laws,” commented Jack Kocsis, CEO of the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey.” “The laws are on the books, but strong enforcement will ensure violations are taken seriously, which protects honest contractors, craftworkers and the people of New Jersey.”

It is believed that Chwedczuk hired many employees that were undocumented immigrants and he took advantage of their status.

“When we become union carpenters of course we look out for the brothers and sisters of our union, but we are committed to negotiating and protecting fair wages and safety standards for any person who is willing to wake up early and perform a full day’s work to provide for their family” Sproule said “Unions are made to promote workers rights and this case the cooperative work of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo, their teams and our union helped to promote and defend these rights.”

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