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Lehr Construction Corporation, 4 Executives Charged With Fraud

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. (AP Photo/Yanina Manolova)

Juliet Papa Juliet Papa
Juliet Papa is an award-winning reporter for 1010 WINS Radio, the...
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A leading New York City construction company and four executives have been charged with bilking banks, The Economist magazine and other clients out of more than $30 million through an overbilling scheme.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports: Lofty Profits, Lofty Fraud

Lehr Construction Corp. and vice presidents Jeffrey Lazar and Todd Phillips, finance director Steven Halper and estimating chief Steven Wasserman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges including racketeering. The men were released on $150,000 bond.

“This was a systematic, across-the-board practice,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said.

New York-based Lehr oversees interior renovations. Prosecutors say the company had subcontractors pad their bids and purchase orders, then collected the difference.

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“The theft might have been a relatively modest amount of money but it was used routinely in all their construction management contracts,” Vance said.

A lawyer for Lehr said the company will complete its projects and pay its bills despite the charges. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

Phillips’ lawyer says he “looks forward to being vindicated at trial.” The other defendants declined to comment.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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