FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Brooklyn Restaurant Owner Sentenced to One Year in Jail for Failing to Pay Employees
Fifteen workers from Edna’s Soul Food Restaurant to receive back pay
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a man who owned Edna’s Soul Food Restaurant in Brownsville has been sentenced to one year in jail for failing to pay 15 employees including cashiers, fry cooks, servers, cleaners, delivery drivers and an assistant manager more than $17,000 in back wages.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant brazenly stole the hard-earned money of his victims. Today’s sentence is a punishment for the defendant’s crimes and a warning for those who seek to cheat hardworking employees.”
The District Attorney said that the defendant, Earl Davis, 26, of 980 Bedford Avenue, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted scheme to defraud in the first-degree. The multiple companies he used to operate the business – Edna’s 1735 Pitkin Avenue, LLC D/B/A Edna’s Soul Food, ESF 2258 Atlantic Avenue, LLC D/B/A Edna’s Soul Food, and Edna’s Restaurant Group, Inc. D/B/A Edna’s Soul Food A/K/A Lang Rock Equity Partners – pleaded guilty to the top count of scheme to defraud in the first-degree.
The District Attorney said that, from October 2013 to July 2014, Davis employed at least 15 people to work at Edna’s Soul Food, a take-out and delivery restaurant located at 2258 Atlantic Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn, using the corporate identities Edna’s 1735 Pitkin Avenue LLC d/b/a Edna’s Soul Food, ESF 2258 Atlantic Avenue , LLC d/b/a Edna’s Soul Food, and Edna’s Restaurant Group, Inc. d/b/a Edna’s Soul Food a/k/a Lang Rock Equity Partners.
Davis served as the restaurant’s president and ran the day-to-day operations.
The District Attorney said that Davis promised to pay the workers $8 to $10 an hour to work as cashiers, fry cooks, servers, cleaners, delivery drivers, and as an assistant manager. When the defendants did pay the workers the defendants paid them in cash without pay stubs, gave the workers checks that bounced, confiscated the workers’ tips, refused to pay overtime, and ultimately failed to pay the workers all the wages owed to them for up to two months of work.
The District Attorney said that Davis told the workers he planned to open additional restaurants and that, if they continued to work for him, he would reward them with promotions and raises, as well as pay them back wages.
The District Attorney further stated that Davis was verbally abusive towards the workers and regularly argued with, yelled at, physically attacked, and fired workers who asked for their wages. Although the defendants refused to pay the workers all the wages owed to them, the workers saw defendant Davis take cash from the register on almost a daily basis.
This investigation was initiated by a call to the District Attorney’s Labor Frauds Unit Helpline. If you believe you have been a victim of Labor Fraud, such as wage theft or retaliation, please call our Labor Frauds Unit at 718-250-3770.
The case was investigated by Detective Investigator Kevin McAleese of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigator Robert Addonizio and Richard Bellucci, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Joel Greenwald and Meredith McGowan, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Labor Frauds Unit, under the supervision of Felice Sontupe, Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, and Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.