Today, New York is one of the most in-demand real estate markets in the world, resulting in unprecedented levels of construction and development. This rush to build can lead to dangerous safety lapses and fraudulent conduct that are only exposed after the lives of workers are jeopardized or — in the most tragic cases — lost.
Building on our Office’s rich history of rooting out fraud and corruption in New York’s construction and trades sector, District Attorney Vance created our Construction Safety Community Project to train workers to recognize workplace safety hazards and report them to law enforcement. We have trained more than 2,000 workers in both English and Spanish, encouraging workers to submit anonymous reports, photos, and videos documenting unsafe work conditions to our Office.
If you are a construction worker who would like to anonymously report an unsafe worksite, wage violations, or other illegal activity in the construction industry, please contact us via WhatsApp at 646-712-0298. Whether you are documented or undocumented under federal law, we are here to protect your safety and your rights.
These reports may be investigated by our Manhattan DA Construction Fraud Task Force, which we formed in partnership with multiple agencies to pursue proactive, criminal investigations against those who threaten the integrity of the industry and create unsafe spaces in New York City and State.
Our Task Force works to combat illegal conduct in all facets of the real estate development, including unfair labor practices. In New York State, wage theft accounts for more than $1 billion in lost earnings per year and affects tens of thousands of workers. To address this type of fraud, our Task Force works with government partners to investigate wage-related theft, fraud, and abuse as part of our joint Wage Theft Initiative, which has culminated in multiple criminal cases accounting for more than $2.5 million in stolen wages.
Remembering Carlos Moncayo
In 2015, a 22-year-old worker named Carlos Moncayo was killed at a construction site in the Meatpacking District when an improperly secured trench collapsed and fatally crushed him. This tragic event could have been prevented by the individuals and companies responsible for managing the site, who for months ignored persistent warnings about the unlawful and unsafe work conditions they created.
In 2016, our Office announced the indictment of two construction companies and two individuals for recklessly causing Moncayo’s death, and later convicted them on charges including Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide, and Reckless Endangerment. The landmark convictions established for the first time our City that a company can be held criminally responsible for the death of a worker at a worksite.
- Gabriel Nortesano, the owner of the heating oil company G&D Petroleum Transportation, Inc., pleaded guilty to Enterprise Corruption for overseeing and engaging in a scheme to defraud thousands of residential, commercial, and municipal customers throughout New York City by shorting heating oil deliveries and reselling the stolen surplus.
- Ephraim Vashovsky, the owner and landlord of a building in East Harlem, pleaded guilty to Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree and Endangering the Welfare of a Child for imperiling the lives of the tenants of 21 E. 115th Street by purposefully creating hazardous living conditions through ongoing illegal construction and renovation intended to force his tenants to vacate their rent-stabilized apartment by rendering it unlivable.
- Four individuals were indicted and charged with Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Criminally Negligent Homicide, and other charges in connection with a deadly gas explosion that occurred at 121 Second Avenue in the East Village.
- After pleading guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Jamie Rotondaro, the president of Janic Construction Corp., was sentenced to 2-to-6 years in state prison for stealing more than $350,000 from company clients.
- Following his guilty plea to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Richard Marini was sentenced to 1-to-3 years in state prison for facilitating fraudulent site safety inspections at multiple construction sites in Manhattan.