Concrete testing company indicted for fake reports

By Helen Wright10 August 2011

The Manhattan District Attorney has indicted a concrete testing company and five engineers for allegedly faking safety reports on the strength of concrete in major public and private projects over a 12-year period.

The prosecutor alleges that American Standard Testing & Consulting Laboratories, together with the owner of the company, Alan Fortich, and five other engineers, falsified nearly 3000 test reports and inspections on an array of projects, including the Yankee Stadium.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said, "By falsifying safety tests and reports for more than 10 years, the defendants are charged not only with cheating their clients, but also jeopardising the public's safety. Because of this fraud, government agencies and private companies paid thousands of dollars for test results that were no more than worthless pieces of paper."

The defendants are charged with enterprise corruption, fraud, false filing and falsifying business records. They deny the allegations.

In addition to Yankee baseball stadium, other major projects for which test results were allegedly falsified include Columbia University, the air control tower at LaGuardia Airport, the Lincoln Tunnel and the Second Avenue subway. The prosecutor said that additional steps had been taken to ensure the safety and stability of the projects.

Indeed, the concrete used in the Second Avenue construction project subway was declared safe on 6 August after being retested by another independent company and the project remains on track for completion by 2016.

Ongoing investigation

The indictment is part of New York's ongoing investigation of criminal activity in the construction industry. District Attorney Vance highlighted the fact that his office had last year secured the trial convictions of a larger concrete testing company, Testwell Laboratories, and seven executives, on corruption charges for similar fraudulent activities.

In 2008, Testwell - one of the largest companies in the New York area to conduct construction material testing - was charged with racketeering for defrauding numerous state agencies and scores of private clients in connection with faking test reports. Testwell's owner was sentenced to up to 21 years in prison for the crime.

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