Restaurant Owner Arrested for Ignoring Federal Investigators

He repeatedly failed to provide information as part of a compliance probe.

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CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. – The operator of two Long Island restaurants may have thought they only had to take orders from customers, but now has learned that ignoring the orders of federal investigators and a federal court will get you arrested.

On February 1, 2023, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Louis “Luigi” Prudente, owner of Il Vizio Restorante Italiano Corp., operating as Il Vizio, for repeatedly failing to provide information to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division as part of a compliance investigation that began in May 2021. Acting at the direction of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip, the U.S. Marshalls Service arrest of Prudente follows legal action prompted by the owner’s refusal to supply documents required for the division’s investigation.

“The arrest of Il Vizio owner, Louis Prudente, shows that the U.S. Department of Labor will use every available instrument to gather the facts, enforce the law and ensure employers do not hold the law in contempt,” said Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York. “An employer’s refusal to comply with federal investigators is illegal and unacceptable and, as this employer now knows, has significant consequences including arrest.”

The department issued an administrative subpoena in July 2021, to determine if the employer’s pay practices complied with the Fair Labor Standards Act, but the employer refused to supply the subpoenaed documents. In response, the department’s Office of the Solicitor pursued the following actions in federal court:

  • Obtained a Jan. 10, 2022, court order directing the employer to comply with the July 2021 subpoena.
  • Filed a Sept. 8, 2022, motion asking the court to find Prudente in contempt and fine the employer for not complying with the subpoena.
  • Obtained an Oct. 27, 2022, court order granting the department’s contempt motion and imposing an escalating series of fines, up to $500 a day.
  • Certified the employer’s continued non-compliance on Jan. 5, 2023, and requested the court direct Prudente be taken into the U.S. Marshals’ custody until he produces the subpoenaed documents.

“The Wage and Hour Division must be able to access an employer’s records during an investigation to determine whether or not their businesses’ pay practices and other operations comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act,” said Wage and Hour Division Regional Administrator Mark Watson Jr. in Philadelphia. “We cannot and will not allow employers to refuse to cooperate with investigators and withhold requested records in an attempt to evade their legal responsibilities without consequences.”

Incorporated in 2010, Il Vizio Restorante Italiano Corp. operates two Italian cuisine restaurants in Massapequa and Massapequa Park.

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