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 and Aluisio Dasilva, 67, of Hudson, Mass., pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge George A. O’Toole, Jr., to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and false statements. Isreb and Dasilva are scheduled to be sentenced on July 17 and 15, respectively.
Isreb operated Taunton Forms, a now-defunct concrete construction company based in Lakeville, Mass. DaSilva was employed by Taunton Forms as a cement mason. In 2006, the Government Services Administration (GSA) 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 December 2007, however, Isreb, DaSilva and others conspired 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 DaSilva and other workers had been laid off. That permitted the workers to offset their lower wages with unemployment benefits while they worked on the McCormack Building project and other projects. The conspiracy also permitted Taunton Forms to avoid making fringe benefit payments to certain labor union benefit plans that it was required to pay pursuant to its applicable collective bargaining agreements. Taunton Forms also failed to withhold applicable payroll taxes.
The maximum sentence under the statute is five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,00 or twice the gross gain or loss. Pursuant to their plea agreements, Isreb and DaSilva are also required to pay restitution to the government and the labor unions that were defrauded as a result of the conspiracy.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Cheryl Garcia, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Labor Racketeering and 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 Employee Benefits Security Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Boston Regional Office; and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen E. Frank of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.