How he got in: In 2018, a Pittsburgh area painter pleaded guilty to several charges: wire fraud, stealing from an employee benefit plan and violating the Clean Water Act when his crew allowed paint debris to fall into the Susquehanna River. He was fined $200,000 and sentenced to 46 months in prison.
While the contractor pleaded guilty, he stated that in actuality he had not committed any crimes and that he was being “railroaded” by prosecutors. According to news sources, the sentencing hearing got contentious as the prosecutors painted him as a menace to society while his supporters said he was a good man of good works. The contractor’s attorney argued that while some non-lead paint did fall into the river, when lead was involved, proper procedures were in place and there were no lab reports to prove that lead paint had indeed fallen into the river.
This case was brought to attention of authorities when some crew members reported a shortage in pay. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which prompted investigators to look into it further.
Prosecutors called him a serial lawbreaker, noting that he had 110 traffic violations, and that the company, now out of business, was cited for pollution issues in earlier years.
How he got out: The contractor was granted early “compassionate release” as, now in his mid-60s, he’s suffered from blood cancer which would put him at greater risk if he contracted COVID-19. The prosecutors still wanted to keep him behind bars, arguing that he’s already had COVID-19 and would have access to the vaccine, also stating that he had still discounted the seriousness of his crimes.
The original sentencing judge, however, found his health concerns to be valid, citing that the vaccine was not infallible and that the contractor’s health conditions were already life-threatening. She also stated that she didn’t feel he was a danger to the community at this point. After serving 26 of he 46 months, the contractor will remain on probation for the remainder of his term.
A Massachusetts contractor, the owner of several businesses, pleaded guilty in connection with charges that he manipulated his payroll to avoid paying taxes. The contractor pleaded guilty to 17 counts of failure to collect, account for and pay over federal employment taxes; 17 counts of aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns; and one count of making a false statement to the Social Security Administration.
One example cited by prosecutors was that he had some of his employees create shell corporations and then paid them as if they were independent contractors. His variety of schemes resulted in more than $1.8 million in tax losses. Sentencing, which could include prison time, supervised release, and/or hefty fines, will take place in March of 2022.
Bridge painter killed in tragic on the job accident
The APC team extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to the friends and family of a painter who fell to his death during work on the Manhattan Bridge in November. In separate incidents on the same day, two men fell to the pavement. One of them, Fabio Santana, was hospitalized and in stable condition, but the other, 37-year-old second generation bridge painter David Alomia, Jr., did not survive the fall.
Along with the rest of the 10-person crew, Alomia was wearing a safety harness which he had to unhook and reattach to change his position; at that point he lost his footing and fell onto the pavement 100 feet below. An hour later, Santana fell from the bridge onto a nearby building.
The New York-based IUPAT District Council 9 released a statement of sympathy for the family, mourning the loss of one of their members and adding that they remain committed to the importance of safety on the jobsite.