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Press Release

Baldwinsville Man Charged with Obstruction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Elias J. Sawalha, age 63, of Baldwinsville, New York, was arraigned today on an obstruction charge for submitting false documents to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.


The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Michael C. Mikulka, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Region of the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations.


According to the indictment, Sawalha made and submitted forms, signed under penalty of perjury and submitted to the Department of Labor, stating that he had paid several employees of his gas station as ordered by the Department of Labor, when he knew he had not paid any of these employees the money they were owed.


The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


The charge filed against Sawalha carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a maximum term of supervised release of 1 year.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.


Sawalha was arraigned today in Syracuse before United States Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles, and released pending a trial scheduled before United States District Judge David N. Hurd.


This case is being investigated by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sahar L. Amandolare.

Updated November 7, 2017

Labor & Employment