Mystique Boutique Owner Busted for Underpaying Employees

mystique boutique march
Retail Action Project

David Cohen, the owner of Mystique boutique -- a (we'll say it: cheap-looking) clothing chain that boasts seven stores -- was arrested yesterday for allegedly owing 150 workers a whipping $1.5 million.

Mystique's never boasted the most savory selection in terms of clothes (the focus rests squarely on denim and club tops, in our opinion), and it seems the store's window displays weren't the only less-than-savory aspects to Mystique. According to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is seeking civil rights damagse to the tune fo $1.5 million, the workers at the various locations "were not only ripped off, but were also intimidated to stay quiet."

On February 3, hundreds of retail workers marched with the Retail Action Project to protest the "stolen wages" stores like Mystique (as well as, allegedly, Shoe Mania and Scoop NYC) that workers were owed.

Cohen faces jail time for the various charges Cuomo's office has leveled against him, and overall the accusations (outlined in Crain's) sound downright nasty: Paying employees $2 under the minimum wage, refusing to pay overtime, and allegedly even offering to pay one employee $50,000 to rat out which other employees were giving the investigation intel. Overall, it's a sobering reminder that not all retail businesses in the city -- Fashion's Night Out, notwithstanding -- are necessarily worthy of blind support.

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