A Saddle Brook construction company is on the hook for $1 million after its payroll manager pleaded guilty in Superior Court on Thursday to orchestrating a kickback scheme that forced workers to pay for their weekly income, all while working on government-contracted projects.

“Public contracting is a privilege,” state Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said in a public statement from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General.

The manager, Toni Jovanoski of Montvale, affixed notes to each paycheck for seven of UniMak’s employees indicating an amount of money. If the employees did not pay Jovanoski the amount, they would not receive future checks, the attorney general said.

Over the course of the five-year scheme, he withheld overtime and regular pay for UniMak employees and violated New Jersey labor laws that protect wages for workers on public contracts.

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