Manhattan DA launches task force to investigate corruption in construction industry

Dive Brief:

  • A “staggering amount of construction” in Manhattan has led to the creation of a Construction Fraud Task Force that will identify and prosecute corruption in New York City’s construction industry, the district attorney’s office announced on Wednesday.

  • The task force includes five city agencies and will investigate “wrongdoing and unsafe practices” at construction sites, including fraud, bribery, extortion, money laundering, bid rigging, larceny and safety violations.

  • Those infractions “threaten the integrity of the industry and the safety of the city,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement. The city’s Business Integrity Commission, one of the task force partners, also issued a statement. “The fraud that too often accompanies these multi-million dollar projects… illegally siphons off funds, limiting the building power of our city,” the statement said.  

Dive Insight:

The statements came on the same day that Vance’s office announced the indictments of the construction managers and the companies they worked for in the April death of a worker who died when an unsecured trench collapsed and crushed him.

Wilmer Cueva of excavation subcontractor Sky Materials Corp. and Alfonso Prestia of Harco Construction, a general contractor, “ignored repeated warnings that they were not following safe practices,” according to the DA's statement. They were charged with second-degree manslaughter, reckless endangerment and criminally negligent homicide for “recklessly disregarding their professional responsibility to protect workers,” the statement said.

The victim, Carlos Moncayo, a Sky employee, was 22.

The task force, Vance said, is part of a citywide effort to “hold accountable those who are indifferent to the dangerous construction practices endangering their workers and all New Yorkers.”

Filed Under: Legal/Regulation
Top image credit: Sam Howzit