Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini and the New York State Department of Labor have announced the guilty plea of a Brightwaters man and his company for fraudulently billing the Wading River Fire District and failing to pay subcontractors on a public works project.
Environmental Compliance Associates Corp. pleaded guilty today to Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, and was sentenced by Suffolk County District Court Judge Richard Dunne to a $10,000 fine. Nicholas Guercio, 41, the owner of the company, pleaded guilty to a violation and was sentenced to a conditional discharge. In addition, the defendants were required to pay $82,605 in restitution.
“This company was stealing money from the fire district – and by extension the taxpayers – with the left hand and shortchanging workers with the right,” District Attorney Sini said. “Whenever an unscrupulous business like this is awarded the bid on a public works project, that is a job that could have gone to a hardworking, law-abiding company. That’s why we’ll continue to work with our partners, including the Department of Labor, to make sure workers and taxpayers are not being taken advantage of, and that upstanding companies are not being deprived of business opportunities because of bad actors.”
“Every New Yorker deserves fair pay for a fair day’s work,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “The New York State Department of Labor will continue to pursue any criminal engaging in wage violations and fraud. I thank the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office for being a strong partner in our fight against fraud.”
The defendants won a bid to be hired as the general contractor for the 2018 Wading River Fire Department’s Underground Fuel Storage System public works project, which comprised a $325,000 upgrade to the fire department’s fuel storage and dispensing system, including the installation of two underground petroleum storage tanks, a fuel management system and a fire suppression system.
During the course of the project, the defendants submitted multiple forged lien releases purportedly signed by subcontractors on the project claiming they had been paid when they had not been. They also submitted sworn affidavits claiming all subcontractors and vendors had been paid when they had not been, and billed the fire district $15,000 for a performance bond that was never purchased.
In total, the defendants received $82,605 from the district for the performance bond and purported payments to three subcontractors and a parts supplier, which they had received from the district upon the affirmations that those other parties had been paid.
The defendants were represented by David Oddo.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Shaun McCready, of the Financial Investigations & Money Laundering Bureau’s Labor Crime Unit.