The New York state Attorney General’s Office is hoping that the threat of jail time will motivate a restaurant owner to repay $26,000 in stolen wages.
Elisa Parto, owner of Elisa’s Food & Plus Inc. on Poningo Street in Port Chester, was sentenced to six months in jail, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today, but incarceration was postponed until June 5 to give her time to pay.
She was arrested in 2014 for failure to pay the minimum wage and overtime to cooks, cleaners and cashiers. In 2015, she pleaded guilty in Port Chester Village Court to wage theft from six former employees in Port Chester Village Court.
The state learned of the situation from the Don Bosco Workers Group, a Latino grassroots organization that advocates for immigrant day laborers and other low-income workers in Port Chester.
One former employee, according to the attorney general, worked close to 70 hours a week from 2012 to 2014.
Parto had been sentenced to probation for three years and ordered to pay $47,000. She agreed, as part of her plea, to pay $11,000 by last March and then $1,000 a month thereafter.
She paid $21,000 and then stopped making payments eight months ago, the attorney general said, despite several warnings from the court.
Last year she was jailed for a week for violating bail conditions, failing to appear in court and failing to report to probation.
Attempts to contact Parto for comment were unsuccessful; calls to her business telephone resulted in recorded messages saying that they could not be completed.