Fair vendor fined after 'human trafficking' investigation
Thu, 24 Mar 2011 14:29:59 GMT —
A State Fair vendor who civil rights activists accused of "human trafficking" has been fined by the U.S. Labor Department.
Peter Karageorgis, the owner of Peter's Fine Greek Foods, has been fined $50,500 and ordered to pay 13 workers a total of $115,900 in back wages.
The Labor Department investigated complaints that Karageorgis was hiring immigrants from Mexico to work at his food stands at the State Fair and other venues, but refused to pay them what they were owed. The Labor Department was tipped off to the situation by the Workers' Center of Central New York .
The immigrants allegedly signed contracts with Karageorgis guaranteeing wages of $10 to $12 dollars an hour but they were paid only $1 to $4 dollar per hour. They were also forced to work up to 16 hours a day for two weeks straight without overtime, according to a criminal complaint filed in Federal Court.
According to State Fair officials, Peter's Fine Greek Foods had three locations throughout the Fairgrounds for the last six years.
The attorney representing Peter Karageorgis has not yet returned our call.
Click here to download and read a copy of the Labor Department's ruling.