D.A. Bragg Announces Wage Theft Indictment Against Owners Of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

March 21, 2024

Workers Whose Wages Were Stolen Urged to Contact D.A.’s Worker Protection Unit at (646) 712-0298

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., today announced the indictment of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria owner ANTHONY PISCINA, 63, and Manhattan manager FRANK SANTORA, 71, for stealing more than $20,000 in wages from at least seven employees at Grimaldi’s Flatiron location. The defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Scheme to Defraud and seven counts of Failure to Pay Wages in Accordance with the Labor Law.[1]

“Again and again, we allege, the owner and manager of Grimaldi’s lied to their workers, underpaid them, and exploited them, ultimately taking more than $20,000 of their hard-earned wages” said District Attorney Bragg. “In text messages to the defendants, the victims made it devastatingly clear how desperately they needed these funds. In Manhattan, we value workers and we fight to make sure they receive every dollar they earn. We believe there may be more victims and encourage any worker whose wages have been stolen to call our Worker Protection Unit by calling or messaging (646) 712-0298. The Office is a safe place to report crime, whether or not you are documented.”

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “This indictment highlights the successful collaboration between our Worker Protection Division and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, showcasing our joint efforts to enforce labor laws and uphold workers’ rights. We are dedicated to holding those who commit wage theft accountable, ensuring that justice is served and that all workers are treated with respect and fairness.”

The investigation by the Manhattan D.A.’s Office began when the Worker Protection Unit received multiple complaints about alleged wage theft at Grimaldi’s Pizza.

According to court documents and statements made on the record, between August 21, 2017, and August 8, 2023, PISCINA and SANTORA schemed to defraud multiple employees of Grimaldi’s Pizzeria of thousands of dollars’ worth of wages. Over the course of the scheme, PISCINA and SANTORA stole wages from at least 7 pizza makers, salad preppers, busboys, and dishwashers by:

  • Giving the employees paychecks that later bounced,
  • Inducing the employees to continue working by sending them partial payments through financial apps,
  • Making “appointments” to settle the wages they were owed, and failing to appear at the meetings,
  • Offering them far less than the New York State minimum wage, and
  • Failing to pay wages altogether.

The employees sent repeated texts to PISCINA and SANTORA asking for their wages. Frequently, the defendants agreed to pay the wages, yet failed to do so.

One Grimaldi’s busboy was promised a pay rate of $10 an hour, well below New York State’s minimum wage. Grimaldi’s never paid this employee, who is owed approximately $8,000 in stolen wages.

When a former employee told the defendants that he would hire a lawyer to recoup his wages, they told him in substance: “I’VE GOT 3 COMPLAINTS ON ME. THE STATE IS NOT GONNA DO A THING.” PISCINA also told this employee, who was wearing a cap with a USA flag, in substance, “TAKE THAT OFF. YOU CAN’T WEAR THAT,” in reference to the employee’s national origin.

In one instance, SANTORA gave an employee who worked at Grimaldi’s for six years a letter stating, “I OWE YOU $4,559.” Despite the employee’s best efforts to recoup his wages, Grimaldi never paid him.

Manhattan D.A.’s Worker Protection Unit

In February 2023, District Attorney Bragg launched the Office’s first Worker Protection Unit to investigate and prosecute wage theft and other forms of worker exploitation across Manhattan. The Unit pursues criminal charges against individuals and corporations that jeopardize their workers’ safety and steal their wages. The Unit also enforces workplace safety labor laws, incorporating the work of the Office’s Construction Fraud Task Force, and pursues criminal charges when an employer creates dangerous or deadly work environments.

Building on the Office’s leadership in prosecuting wage theft in the construction and real estate development industries, the Worker Protection Unit expanded the Office’s focus to include other industries with high rates of worker exploitation, such as home healthcare agencies, fast food and restaurants, hotels, and more.

Assistant D.A. Rachana Pathak (Chief of the Worker Protection Unit) is handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Michael Ohm (Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau), Judy Salwen (Principal Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau), and Jodie Kane (Chief of the Rackets Bureau and Acting Chief of the Investigation Division). Danielle Corbett (Coordinator of the Worker Protection Unit), Steven Moran (Director of the High Tech Analysis Unit) and Paralegal Simon Otero provided valuable assistance, as did Investigators Genesis Cornielle, Haley Fitzpatrick, Genesis De Luna, Brittany Stewart, and David Caban; Senior Investigators Alexandra Cinque, Jacob Diamond, Jose Vasquez, Miguel Pena, and Justin Reid; Supervising Investigators Patrick O’Brien, Veronica Rodriguez, and Daniel Clark-El; and Assistant Chief of the Investigation Bureau Jonathan Reid.

District Attorney Bragg thanked the New York State Department of Labor for its assistance.

Defendant Information:



  • Scheme to Defraud, a class E felony, one count
  • Failure to Pay Wages in Accordance with the Labor Law, a class A misdemeanor, seven counts



  • Scheme to Defraud, a class E felony, one count
  • Failure to Pay Wages in Accordance with the Labor Law, a class A misdemeanor, seven counts


[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.