Touro construction project manager pleads guilty in $2M kickbacks scheme

October 13, 2010 09:30AM

Preet Bharara

A former construction manager for a Touro College development project has pleaded guilty to taking more than $2 million in kickbacks from a developer on a West Harlem project, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced yesterday. Lawrence Pesce, of Bellmore, N.Y., had been arrested June 22 on charges that he colluded with a developer, who inflated initial bids on the 230 West 125th Street project by more than $2 million in 2008 in exchange for a guarantee of the contract. Ultimately, the anonymous developer received $12.4 million for the work before becoming an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and helping to unravel the fraud. Pesce, who now faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, agreed to forfeit $1 million, as well as some real estate interests he bought with proceeds from the scheme, as part of his plea. Sentencing is set for Jan. 18. TRD