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March 19, 2012

MADIGAN: SUBCONTRACTOR GUILTY IN SCHEME TO CHEAT CARPENTERS’ WAGES ON O’HARE CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced a longtime foreman and subcontractor for a Melrose Park construction company pleaded guilty to 10 counts of forgery for carrying out a scheme to defraud carpenters working on a construction project to soundproof homes around O’Hare Airport.

Mark Zwirecki, 45, of Chicago, pleaded guilty today to 10 counts of forgery, a Class 3 offense. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Porter sentenced Zwirecki to serve 12 months probation and ordered him to pay $60,804 in restitution and a $10,333 fine.

Zwirecki was an employee and subcontractor for Classic Gutter, a Melrose Park construction company. The Attorney General’s office began investigating Classic Gutter Co. for possible prevailing wage violations in connection with a city of Chicago contract to soundproof residences around the airport as part of the O’Hare Residential Sound Insulation Program.

The investigation revealed that Zwirecki acted on his own to devise a scheme to pay 10 carpenters he supervised far less than the legally-required prevailing wage of $57.51/hour, which they were entitled to receive under terms of the city’s contract. According to Madigan’s investigation, the carpenters were of Polish descent and most did not speak English. Zwirecki’s ability to speak Polish helped him carry out his scheme to defraud the carpenters.

Between December 2008 and May 2009, Zwirecki received the weekly payroll checks from Classic Gutter to deliver to the employees, but without the company’s knowledge, Zwirecki duped the employees and kept much of the money for himself. Zwirecki deposited the employees’ payroll checks into his bank accounts after forging the workers’ endorsements and then paid the carpenters at a much lower pay rate with checks drawn on his own account.

“The defendant went to great lengths to illegally profit off of hard-working men,” Madigan said. “My office is committed to enforcing our state’s prevailing wage laws to ensure that contractors who don’t follow the law at the expense of employees and taxpayers are held accountable.”

The case was handled by Attorney General Madigan’s Public Integrity Bureau in conjunction with the City of Chicago Inspector General. Assistant Attorney General David Navarro represented Madigan’s Public Integrity Bureau.

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