Owners of NYC pizzeria Grimaldi’s plead guilty to stealing employees wages

Grimaldis Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria manager Frank Santora and consultant Anthony Piscina joined Fox & Friends First to discuss new NYC rules cracking down on coal, wood-fired pizzerias.

The owners of Grimaldi's, a NYC pizzeria famous for its brick-oven baked pies, pleaded guilty to stealing $32,080 in wages from their 18 employees. 

Owner Anthony Piscina and Manhattan manager Frank Santora were sentenced to pay full restitution to the workers, which they submitted to the D.A.’s Office Wednesday via a cashier’s check. Bragg said they were accused of stealing more than $20,000 in wages from minimum wage employees, who allegedly begged for their hard-earned money.

"With today’s guilty plea, 18 hard-working New Yorkers will be made whole and receive the wages stolen from them by their employers at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. This case expanded since the initial announcement because more workers came forward, making clear the importance of both outreach and reporting.," District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.

RELATED: Owners of NYC pizzeria Grimaldi’s accused of stealing wages from workers

Piscina and Santora "schemed to defraud at least seven workers, pizza makers, salad preppers, bus boys, and dishwashers of more than $20,000 worth of wages," the indictment alleges.

Instead of paying employees, Piscina and Santora allegedly gave employees paychecks that bounced, convinced employees to continue working through partial payments, and made appointments to settle wages that were owned and never followed through.

In some cases, the employers didn't pay their employees at all. 

According to the indictment, one man was offered $10 an hour for a busboy job – well under NYC's $15 minimum wage – but never saw a dime. This former employee is owed approximately $8,000 for his work, Bragg said.

When employees threatened to take legal action, the owners allegedly told them, "The state is not gonna do a thing," and even cited three other outstanding complaints against them.

In another instance, Santora is said to have given an employee of six years, an IOU letter that said, "I owe you $4,559." Bragg said that the employee has still never been paid a cent.

Charges against Piscina and Santora include scheming to defraud and failure to pay wages.