An owner and a manager of Washington Heights restaurant Parrilla Latin Bistro have been arrested for allegedly stealing over $160,000 worth of wages from several employees, with more arrests to come.
Owner Manuel Hernandez and Mohammed Harb, a manager, were arrested and charged with multiple counts of grand larceny for repeatedly failing to pay and scheming against nine restaurant workers, New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Friday. Arrests are also coming for restaurant co-owners Jose Hernandez and Gino Hernandez, who weren’t present in court today.
The owners behind the restaurant at 3920 Broadway, near 164th Street, are accused of paying servers and cooks well below the minimum wage and often not paying them at all, according to the attorney general’s office. Some of those employees had worked at the restaurant for over seven years. Employees were repeatedly asked to be patient and told that payment was coming, the allegations state, and did not receive overtime for 40-hour-plus work weeks.
Manuel and Gino Hernandez were additionally charged with failing to secure worker’s compensation coverage on two occasions. If convicted, the owners and manager face five to 15 years in prison, plus the payment of back wages to the employees.
The steakhouse has been around since at least 2006, Yelp reviews show. Calls to the restaurant landed on a voicemail system that hasn’t been set up.