BOSTON - Two men pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to defraud the government in connection with the renovation of the John W. McCormack Post Office and Courthouse in Boston.
Wael Isreb, 55, of Wrentham, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr., to four years of probation, including 18 months of home confinement, and ordered to pay $164,627 in restitution. In March 2014, Isreb and his co-defendant, Aluisio Dasilva, 67, of Hudson, Mass., each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and false statements.
Isreb was the owner of Taunton Forms, a now-defunct concrete construction company based in Lakeville, Mass. In September 2006, the General Services Administration retained Suffolk Construction Company as the general contractor to renovate the McCormack Building. Suffolk Construction, in turn, retained Taunton Forms as a subcontractor to perform certain concrete work on that project. Suffolk Construction ultimately paid Taunton Forms in excess of $1 million for its work.
Federal law requires that contractors on federal projects over $2,000 pay workers a prevailing wage, and that they submit weekly reports certifying the wages they paid their employees. Beginning in about December 2007, however, Isreb conspired with Dasilva and others to pay Taunton Forms workers less than the prevailing wage while certifying to Suffolk Construction, the GSA, and the United States Department of Labor (DOL) that Taunton Forms was, in fact, paying the prevailing wage.
As part of the conspiracy, the defendants agreed to report, falsely, to the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) that the Taunton Forms workers had been laid off. That permitted the workers to offset their lower wages with unemployment benefits while they worked on the McCormack Building and other projects. The conspiracy also permitted Isreb to avoid making fringe benefit payments to certain labor union benefit plans that Taunton Forms was required to pay pursuant to its applicable collective bargaining agreements. Isreb also failed to withhold applicable payroll taxes.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Cheryl Garcia, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Labor Racketeering & Fraud Investigations, New York Regional Office; Luis A. Hernandez, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations; Susan A. Hensley, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Boston Regional Office; and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen E. Frank of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.