The owner of a company that won a $400,000 public subcontract to provide masonry work for the Cooper Camden Student Housing Project, was handed a three-year prison sentence for cheating workers out of $155,000 of wages and attempting to mislead investigators looking into the surrounding allegations, according to a statement last week from the state’s top cop.
Albert Chwedczuk, 45 of Toms River, will also have to pay back the $155,166 he skimmed from his workers, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in an Aug. 6 statement.
Chwedczuk was previously barred from doing work on public contracts, Grewal’s office said, because of similarly-natured violations stemming from his other businesses: Ren Construction LLC and Real Construction LLC.
To bypass the prohibition, Chwedczuk created a new entity called Bella Group LLC to win the $400,000 contract from Camden to do masonry on the Cooper Camden Student Housing Project on South Broadway, the OAG said.
Between 2015 and 2016, Chwedczuk only paid workers a fraction of what they were supposed to earn or not at all, the OAG said.
Chwedczuk then submitted payroll records to the general contractor falsely stating that he paid his workers the full amount. Chwedczuk attempted to mislead state investigators looking into the wage theft allegations by having his employees submit false information to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which was looking into the claims against him.
“When contractors receive taxpayer dollars for a public project, they promise to pay prevailing wages to employees for all their hard work,” Grewal said in the Friday statement. “But this employer cheated his workers and hoarded public funds for his own enrichment.”
Editor’s Note: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that The City of Camden awarded the $400,000 contract.