A Dec. 11 press release issued by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office says several current and former employees at New York area electrical companies have been indicted as part of bid-rigging and commercial bribery conspiracy aimed at taking more than $15 million in a scheme to steal from Bloomberg LP through “inflated subcontractor bids, fictitious work orders and change orders, and misappropriation of unused subcontractor allowance funds.”
Several employees at electrical contractors Litespeed Electric Inc. and Hugh O’Kane Electric Inc., as well as Rafael Betancourt, a former Manhattan branch manager and Angel Ocasio, a former sales manager for Turtle & Hughes, were among the individuals indicted for allegedly participating in the scheme.
Turtle & Hughes is not being investigated by the Manhattan DA and in an email to Electrical Wholesaling, a spokesperson for the company said, “This was the case of two rogue employees who do not represent our company or the people who work hard every day to do the right thing and provide best-in-class service to our loyal customers. We were shocked and hurt that these two employees took actions that were unethical and allegedly illegal. As soon as we discovered these former employees’ actions during an internal financial review, we immediately terminated both individuals involved and proactively turned over our findings to the Manhattan D.A.”
The press release said in part that the defendants allegedly "conspired with subcontractors to steal from Bloomberg LP in a conspiracy centered on interior construction at the company’s offices at 120 Park Ave. and 919 Third Ave. According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., part of the scheme included inflated subcontractor bids, fictitious work orders and change orders, and misappropriation of unused subcontractor allowance funds. Various subcontracting company owners, executives, and vendors (not including Turtle & Hughes) are charged with furthering the conspiracy by paying commercial bribes, engaging in bid-rigging, falsifying business records, and laundering the criminal proceeds of the schemes.”
The press release also said, “Fourteen individuals and three corporations are charged in two New York Supreme Court indictments with Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, as well as various counts of Grand Larceny in the First and Second Degrees, Money Laundering in the First and Second Degrees, Commercial Bribing in the First Degree, among other charges."
“New York’s sky-high construction costs are driven not only by market demand, but by pay-to-play industry corruption that makes it impossible for honest companies to compete, said Vance in the press release. "Thanks to the unique expertise of prosecutors in my Office’s Rackets Bureau, as well as our partners in the New York State Police, this massive, years-long kickback scheme has come to an end. Today’s indictments and guilty pleas demonstrate that if you are engaging in organized crime that blocks fair competition in Manhattan, our prosecutors will find you, turn over every stone, and shut you down.”
This article is just intended to be a short summary of the case. It's been covered in much more depth in several newspapers, including this New York Times article. Click here to read the full press release.