Attorney General Cuomo Announces Arrests Of Contractors Who Cheated Workers On Taxpayer-funded Projects

NEW YORK, NY (October 1, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrests of three contractors on taxpayer-funded projects who allegedly stole over $450,000 in State and New York City funds by cheating their employees out of legal wages.

The Attorney General arrested the following individuals:

  • Geewhan Mangal, 31, of  Jamaica, NY, President of G-1 Ironworks
  • Joseph Casucci, 32, of  Brooklyn, NY, Chief Operations Officer of FJM-Ferro
  • Maurizio Randazzo, 39, of Bellmore, NY, Principal of ANR Electrical Contracting, Inc. and Grand Electric, Inc.
According to the Attorney General’s complaints, Mangal and Casucci, whose companies had a contract to provide ironwork for the Readiness Center being built at Camp Smith in Cortlandt Manor, stole more than $400,000 in State funds from workers.  Randazzo, who fraudulently claimed he was a licensed electrician to obtain a subcontract to perform electrical work in New York City schools, never paid some of his workers at all.

Public works contracts, which are funded with taxpayer money, require contractors to submit certified weekly payroll reports to verify that the employers have paid legally mandated rates and benefits before they can receive payment from the government entity authorizing the work.  Mangal, Casucci, and Randazzo all allegedly developed schemes to make it look as though they were paying legal wages when they were actually stealing from workers and public funds.  

“These individuals allegedly exploited workers in order to pocket taxpayer money,” said Attorney General Cuomo.  “By taking action against corrupt and unscrupulous contractors who get paid on the public dime, we protect workers and uphold the integrity of government contracts.”

G-1 IRONWORKS, INC. AND FJM-FERRO, INC.

As part of a scheme to underpay workers dating back to May 2008, Mangal would allegedly instruct workers to cash their company paychecks, which were valued at a legal rate, and return all of the cash to him.  He would then pay the workers in cash at a rate far below the value of the paycheck.  Mangal and Casucci subsequently submitted certified weekly payroll reports signed by Casucci that falsely stated that all workers were paid a legal rate.  Through this scheme, Mangal and Casucci stole over $430,000 from workers.  Some workers are owed as much as $19,000.

Mangal and Casucci are each charged with 23 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (class E felony), 23 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing (class E felony), and one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (class C felony).  For the Grand Larceny charge, they each face up to 15 years in jail.  For the class E felony charges, they face up to four years in jail for each violation.

FJM-Ferro, Inc. is located in Brooklyn.  G1 Ironworks, Inc. is located in Jamaica, Queens.

ANR ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING, INC. AND GRAND ELECTRIC, INC.

Randazzo allegedly underpaid employees for work done in eleven New York City schools under the City’s “Project Connect” general contract with IBM.  Randazzo submitted fake payroll reports indicating that he paid workers legal wages, although he never paid some workers at all and paid others far below what the law requires.  Randazzo’s companies would then get paid based on the fake payroll reports.  Randazzo would keep the difference between the funds his companies were given to be used as wages for workers and what workers were actually paid.  Through this scheme, Randazzo stole over $26,000 from the New York City Department of Education.  

Randazzo and his corporations are each charged with 40 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (class E felony) and 1 count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (class D felony).  For the Grand Larceny charge, he faces up to 7 years in jail.  For the class E felony charges, he faces up to four years in jail for each violation.

ANR Electrical Contracting, Inc. and Grand Electric, Inc. are both located in Ridgewood, Queens.

State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner said, “Public work contractors must be held accountable to the taxpayers of this state, which is why we must use every tool at our disposal to crack down on those who steal from these projects.  This was a creative scheme that hurt workers and taxpayers alike.  I’d like to thank Attorney General Cuomo for taking such decisive action against this contractor and for protecting state funds and workers.”

The Attorney General thanked Special Commissioner of Investigations for the New York City School District Richard J. Condon for conducting the investigation and referring the matter for prosecution.  

The FJM-Ferro, Inc. and G-1 Ironworks, Inc. case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Rachel Gold and Department of Labor Public Work Wage Investigator Jacqueline Martinez.  The ANR Electrical Contracting, Inc. and Grand Electric, Inc. case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Meredith McGowan, OAG Investigator Ismael Hernandez, and Investigator Richard Werdann of the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigations for the New York City School District.  Both cases are being supervised by Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice James Rogers, Criminal Prosecutions Bureau Deputy Chief Felice Sontupe, and Labor Bureau Chief Patricia Kakalec.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.