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World Trade Center Contractors Charged With Embezzlement

Two trucking company owners with World Trade Center development contracts have been charged with fraud and embezzlement. Federal prosecutors charged the Fusella Group, based in East Hanover, New Jersey, and a second company with a the same ownership, Alpine Investment Group, with hiding their drivers' true work hours to avoid paying legally required wages and benefits. The company owners submitted paperwork certifying that they had paid their workers as required.

Court papers filed in Brooklyn state that as a result of the fraud, the Fusella brothers defrauded the government out of revenue, including an estimated $150,000 in Social Security payments as well as state and federal taxes. They allegedly paid bribes to a union shop steward to hide their activities that also include falsely classifying the drivers as independent contractors and reporting as deductible business expenses the payment made to office workers and mechanics.

Gerardo and Vincent Fusella could face up to 20 years in prison each if convicted. The charges were brought after investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor; the Department of Transportation; the Internal Revenue Service; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and the New York City Business Integrity Commission.

Source: Crain's New York Business, "Feds charge WTC truckers with massive scam", Dec. 22, 2011.

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