Special to CONTRACTOR
NEW YORK — A Brooklyn, N.Y., plumber and his son were sentenced Jan. 28 to prison for stealing millions of dollars from the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority.
Alex Figliolia Sr., 61, and his son, Alex Figliolia Jr., 31, pleaded guilty in September 2004 (October 2004, pg. 1). Alex Figliolia Contracting Corp. and its principals, Figliolia Sr.; his wife, Janet Figliolia, 54; and Figliolia Jr. were named in a 116-count indictment in December 2003.
Figliolia Sr. was sentenced to a term to last from one year, nine months up to five years, nine months in prison, and his son was sentenced to a term to last from two years, nine months up to eight years, six months in prison. Janet Figliolia was sentenced to five years’ probation.
The family made $6 million in restitution by selling their business property in Brooklyn and turning over $750,000 in Janet Figliolia’s jewelry.
The indictment charged that the defendants were engaged in a criminal enterprise for the purpose of stealing millions of dollars from the MTA through a variety of schemes, including inflating invoices for materials, violating prevailing wage requirements, money laundering, falsifying and forging business records filed with the MTA and evading taxes, said Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau.
The indictment charged that the defendants stole $1,156,679.41 in a prevailing wage scheme and $806,000 in inflated materials charges; they were charged with money laundering more than $9 million.
Also indicted were MTA’s former director of facility operations, Howard Weissman; its former facilities manager, Ronald Allan; and MTA building manager, Gary Weissbard. The MTA employees have pleaded guilty to charges of participating in the scheme. They await sentencing.
From 1994 through 2002, Figliolia Plumbing obtained a series of nine consecutive contracts to provide as-needed maintenance-and-repair services for plumbing operations at a number of MTA locations. The company also acted as a subcontractor on other projects.
The indictment charged that Figliolia Plumbing stole the more than $1.15 million by falsely claiming to pay prevailing wages when it paid far less and pocketed the difference. An examination of books and records, seized during execution of a search warrant at the business, showed that Figliolia paid most of its workers less than $20 per hour, and in some cases as little as $8 per hour, but billed the MTA for the prevailing wage of more than $65 per hour.
The indictments charged that the firm inflated the costs of its materials to Pentagon-like proportions. According to the indictment, the firm charged the MTA $135.04 for a 14-in. brass tee and charged $337.86 for a 212-by-412-in. brass nipple.
The Figliolias were charged with money laundering by issuing $5.4 million in corporate checks classified as business expenses to various contractors and retailers. The checks included more than $1 million in corporate checks issued to jewelry retailers and an antique furniture retailer and more than $3.6 million in corporate checks issued to more than 57 contractors who performed work on the Figliolia home in New Jersey. They spent nearly $250,000 for the kitchen in that house.
They were accused of issuing more than $4 million in checks to themselves, all in amounts of less than $10,000 to avoid generating currency transaction reports required by federal law at banks. Tied in with this charge were charges of tax evasion.