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1WTC Contractor Accused of Fraud

Monday, April 20, 2015

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NEW YORK CITY—A Mob-connected silent partner in a company that won a $11.4 million contract on the One World Trade Center project has been charged in a lucrative fraud scheme.

Vincent “Vinny” Vertuccio, 60, of Maspeth, NY, is accused of conspiracy to defraud the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, money laundering and tax crimes, according to an announcement by Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

The scheme siphoned a signficant amount of a $1.5 million payment into an account controlled by Vertuccio's mother, authorities say.

WTC
Silverstein Properties

Prosecutors say Vertuccio controlled and directed the activities of Crimson Construction, which was awarded an $11.4 million contract for work at the One World Trade Center project in lower Manhattan.

Vertuccio’s accountant, Praful Pandya, 68, of Forest Hills, and his attorney, John Servider, 53, of Patterson, were also accused of fraud related to the company, Crimson Construction Corp., also of Maspeth.

The three men pleaded not guilty Tuesday (April 14).

Waterproofing, Finishes Job

Prosecutors allege that Vertuccio controlled and directed the activities of Crimson Construction, which won an $11.4 million contract for work at the One World Trade Center project in lower Manhattan.

According to a Port Authority document, Crimson’s scope of work included waterproofing plaza slabs during construction; furnishing and installing styrofoam, fill and concrete; furnishing and installing plaza finishes, stone paving, irrigation, and water and lighting features.

Mob Ties, Home Renovations

In seeking the contract, Vertuccio directed an unidentified employee of Crimson not to disclose Vertuccio’s role in the company because of his ties to organized crime, authorities said.

Reports indicate Vertuccio has had longstanding relationships with past Bonanno family bosses, including Joseph "Big Joey" Massino, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, and current boss Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso.

Prosecutors say that ties to organized crime would have disqualified the company from the project.

After being awarded the contract in December 2009, Crimson received more than $1.5 million, much of which was diverted into a bank account held by Vertuccio’s mother, prosecutors allege.

The money was then used to pay for renovations to Vertuccio’s daughter’s house, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

As a result, Crimson was unable to meet its obligations at 1WTC and was fired from the project in October 2010. The Port Authority document indicates that Crimson had performed the temporary protection work, including Styrofoam, fill and concrete.

Accountant and Lawyer Charged

Prosecutors have also charged all three defendants with tax and money laundering charges.

Vertuccio, assisted by accountant Pandya, submitted fraudulent individual tax returns for tax years 2008 and 2011, according to the prosecutors.

Loretta Lynch
Official Photo

“...Vertuccio and his team of criminal consultants, including his accountant and his lawyer, cheated the taxpayers and the criminal justice system for their own corrupt purposes,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.

Pandya was charged with aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns for Vertuccio.

Moreover, after Vertuccio learned of an ongoing grand jury investigation into his conduct, he and attorney  Servider allegedly conspired to alter invoices and sales receipts from a Manhattan jewelry store so as to remove Vertuccio’s name before the records were returned to the grand jury, prosecutors said.

Thus, the men were charged with conspiracy to alter, and alteration of, records for use in a grand jury proceeding.

Organized Crime in Construction

“As alleged, Vertuccio and his team of criminal consultants, including his accountant and his lawyer, cheated the taxpayers and the criminal justice system for their own corrupt purposes,” said Lynch.

“We will not tolerate self-serving exploitations of Port Authority projects. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to vigorously prosecute such criminal activity.”

Michael Nestor, the Port Authority Inspector General, added: "Today serves as an unfortunate reminder that, as alleged in the indictment, organized crime continues to plague the region's construction industry.”

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1WTC is the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building at 1,776 feet. The complex opened in October 2014.

   

Tagged categories: Contracts; Criminal acts; Ethics; Government contracts; Laws and litigation

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