Illinois Road Builder Said to Have Cheated Workers out of $2.5 Million

May 20, 2016

The owner of a Schaumburg, Illinois, road construction company intentionally underpaid his union-affiliated employees by more than $1.5 million while underfunding their pension and welfare funds by another $1 million, according to federal criminal charges filed this week.

Joseph Lampignano, the co-owner of A Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc., assigned laborers to work on government-funded road construction projects without paying the union-negotiated wage rate, according to a criminal information filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. From approximately 2008 to 2013, Lampignano violated collectively bargained agreements with the laborers’ union by failing to pay the union wage rate to certain laborers, underpaying them by a total of more than $1.5 million, according to the information.

Lampignano, 43, of Itasca, is charged with one count of mail fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Over the same time period, Lampignano also submitted false reports to the unions’ pension and welfare funds that underreported the number of hours worked by certain laborers, thereby lowering the amount of contributions that A Lamp was required to make to the funds on behalf of its employees, according to the information.  The shortfall to the funds totaled more than $1 million, the information states.

In addition, charges describe a scheme in which Lampignano and his superintendent, Giovanni “John” Traversa, induced employees to re-pay a portion of settlement proceeds they received from the company in resolution of a civil lawsuit.  In 2013, A Lamp paid a total of $545,357 to 24 employees to satisfy unpaid wages and resolve the suit brought by the union.  Subsequent to paying the settlement funds, Lampignano, Traversa, and others used their positions of authority to induce certain laborers to pay some of the money back to the company, according to the information.  Several employees eventually kicked back a total of at least $64,000, the information states.

Traversa, 46, of Bartlett, is charged with one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General regarding the settlement kickbacks.  The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison.

This isn't the first time A. Lamp Concrete has been in court.

A Lamp Concrete Contractors was cited and fined $170,000 in 2008 and 2011 for trench safety violations. In 2006, the company sued the city of Brookfield because it was not awarded a bid. Brookfield attorneys said A.Lamp Concrete's history of 55 separate lawsuits from 1999 to 2005 led to their rejection of the firm's bid.

Both men are scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis on May 24.