While most state and federal governments acknowledge the importance of having safe practices at the construction sites, most of the construction site managers are still involved in committing diverse forms of unsafe practices. Injuries arising from equipment and collapsing buildings due to poor workmanship are the order of the day. Construction site safety entails the practice of having the right environment, people and equipment at the construction site. The right personnel are in terms of qualification and certifications granted by the local authority. Inspection and supervision by the site manager is usually a prerequisite in the real estate industry. In real estate, site safety is important. Cases of fraud in the real estate industry have been cited to involve having unqualified personnel, theft, impersonation and lack of accreditation by the relevant. Most of the fraud cases in construction sites involving larceny and other minor felony offenses are usually actionable in court. All these offences according to the state law are usually actionable at diverse levels according to the nature of seriousness in terms of degree.
According to New York statute, careless construction work and supervision procedures are treated as felonies actionable at the local district attorney’s court. Forgeries of certifications and cases of larceny are treated as classes of felonies, with offenders getting the equivalent jail term for the same. There are several counts accorded by the New York statute in handling the diverse levels of criminal acts on the construction site. For instance, we have categories of; A, B, C, D, and E degree felony categories used in charging the first degree, second degree and third degree felonies. Each of these is meant to carry different convictions, in some cases the fact whether one is a repeat offender becoming more prominent in determining how long or short one is to be convicted.
The federal law treats construction site safety and fraud as just a normal class of felony which the district attorney can institute charges. Site licensing oversights, forgeries and fraud are mostly the most prevalent in the state statutes. The New York state law however has an elaborate cadre of charges instituted on the case of construction site safety and fraud. Cases of violence in construction sites, theft and forgery are the most common in most of the New York courts. Negligence in its own in common law is a tort in common law actionable parse, however in New York statutes, the act of construction site manager negligence has been treated as a criminal offence as it can cause injuries to those who are within the construction site. However, in most of the cases, because the construction site safety and fraud envisages the crimes, the felony attracts an equal amount of jail term as directed by the New York state statute, no fixed number of years is usually prescribed as case by case degree is considered.
Some of the crimes related to construction site safety and fraud include; employment of unqualified personnel, impersonation, forgery, negligence in the course of duty, negligent misrepresentation, violent actions at the sites, breach of construction contract, breach of express and implied warranties, lack of certification of the personnel, scheme to defraud, lack of safety precautions and the use of substandard materials in construction sites.
Construction site safety and fraud is a wide area which may cause the defendant in these cases to be committed to jail for long. Depending on the case, for instance the issue regarding the scheme to defraud or the employment of unqualified personnel, one may be required to answer to different counts or combinations. Anyone charged with the construction site safety and fraud offence has the mercy of remaining innocent till proven guilty, as is the case with most of the statutes. However, it’s a serious felony, which can attract long term incarceration and in some cases the nullification of construction certificate, for contractors For those who are charge with the felony, one needs to have better representation in court. Construction site safety issues and fraud can be quite complex in the eye of a laymen. However, the actual recourse in most of the construction site suits is the claim for damages where the economic loss clause is instituted.
Some of the most successful defenses in construction site safety and fraud include –voluntary assumption of risk (volenti non fit injura), an act of God, mistake, and the principle of estoppel, rescission, lack of enough statutory oversight provisions, complete or part performance, the contractor took reasonable care and no economic loss to the plaintiff.
Avanti building consultants Inc and NYC engineering group vs. the New York state This case which was instituted at the New York district attorney’s court involving several supervisors from the two construction companies who were tasked with the duty of ensuring that the right personnel were absorbed in the various construction sites in Manhattan against the state supervision department. The supervisors did not do their work as expected. However, they fraudulently and negligently represented the data involving the personnel they recruited. In the case, the 7 individuals, one of whom was Richard Marini, were found to have employed even cooks, musicians and hairdressers and in the worst case dead people through craigslist, then tasked them with construction site supervision and work, leaving the sites unattended in actual sense. The city’s probe department looked at the whole case and found commission of fraud, forgery and act of putting the lives of those who were on site at risk. Richard Marini who was charged before the sitting judge, Cyrus Vance Jr alongside the other 6 construction company executives was found guilty as charged and committed to 3 years in jail. Most of the accused have since been committed to different years in jail each.