Two New York City construction companies are facing charges of grand larceny among others for hiring unqualified people to pose as safety inspectors and sign off on about 40 construction sites.
According to a report from the Associated Press, Avanti Building Consultants Inc. and NYCB Engineering Group hired unqualified relatives and others to sign off on the inspections posing as 10 safety managers, one of whom is dead. In all, the company forged 400 safety logs. The companies allegedly paid these people as little as $25 an hour.
Avanti leaders Richard Marini and Richard Sfraga and NYCB Vice President Kishowar Pervez along with four men accused of posing as inspectors are pleading not guilty to the charges.
No one was injured at the sites due to the forgeries, but upon qualified inspections once the scheme was uncovered, inspectors found “blocked exits, torn safety netting and other potentially perilous lapses at some sites,” the AP reports.
Because of the scheme, NYC’s Department of Buildings is increasing the level of documentation required to verify a qualified safety manager. The DoB plans to increase audits of safety managers’ work and qualifications and is developing a system that will notify safety managers in the event that their name is used fraudulently at a site.