Man gets up to 3 years for hiring bellhops, hairdressers as safety managers

Richard Marini, manager of consulting firm Avanti, sentenced in construction fraud scheme
By Dusica Sue Malesevic | February 16, 2016 02:40PM

A building safety consultant was sentenced to one to three years in state prison for sending hairdressers, cooks and hotel bellhops to impersonate licensed site safety managers at several New York City high-rise construction sites, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

Richard Marini, president of Avanti Building Consultants, purported to offer the inspection services of qualified safety managers at construction sites located in the Financial District, Gramercy Park and the Upper East Side. Instead, Marini hired people from Craigslist — everyone from eBay vendors to musicians — to impersonate site safety managers, according to court documents.

Marini then instructed the Craigslist hires to go to construction sites and sign in using their names or provided names of licensed site safety managers in the safety log. Often, the managers did not realize their names were being used.

In some instances, “interns” would sign the name of a deceased site safety manager, according to court documents.

The scheme occurred from 2012 to early 2014, when a Department of Buildings inspector noticed a log was signed by a man who had died the year before, the New York Post reported.

Marini and several of those he hired were arrested in July 2014. Marini pleaded guilty in October 2015. He is also ordered to pay $610,000 in restitution.

After a fatal crane collapse on Worth Street earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week the city will quadruple fines for serious safety lapses and undertake “proactive” safety investigations at 1,500 construction sites. The new fines and rules come at a time there has been a significant increase in accidents — they rose 24 percent in 2014 to 231 — amid a construction boom.