By Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - The owner of nine Papa John’s pizza franchises in the Bronx pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges including illegally taking wages from his employees, the New York state attorney general said.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office said Abdul Jamil Khokhar turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning to face charges including failure to pay wages and falsifying business records. He pleaded guilty that afternoon in a Bronx court as part of a plea agreement. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 21 to 60 days in jail.

Calls and an email to Khokhar’s attorney seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Officials said Khokhar and BMY Foods Inc. failed to pay about 300 current and former employees the minimum wage and overtime, and also filed fake quarterly tax returns to hide their actions.

Khokhar was accused of taking several steps to avoid paying proper overtime, including paying employees for any overtime in cash to avoid creating records. Authorities said he also created fake names for employees in the computer system and used the fake names to avoid paying the time-and-a-half rate required for overtime. An employee who worked for more than 40 hours would be paid for regular work hours under his or her own name, and any overtime hours would be paid as straight hours to a fictitious employee, authorities said.

Officials said Khokhar also will pay $460,000 in back pay and damages to employees, as well as $50,000 in penalties.

Schneiderman won judgments of almost $3 million against two other Papa John’s franchises in other wage theft cases this year. He previously reached settlements with 12 separate Domino’s Pizza franchises totaling almost $1.5 million.

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