Plumbers who drained MTA guilty
By Laura Italiano
A family of crooked millionaire Brooklyn plumbers — notorious for their alleged mob ties and gaudy Jersey mansion — pleaded guilty yesterday to running a racket that bilked the MTA out of $2 million in overcharges and labor fraud.
The Figliolia family — father, wife and son — will serve sentences ranging from probation to just under three years.
They’ll also pay $6 million in restitution by selling their business property at 420 Carroll St., said family lawyer Ronald Fischetti. But they will likely keep their multimilllion-dollar Holmdel mansion, complete with indoor pool with waterfall, outdoor swan pond, and indoor and outdoor pizza ovens.
Not punishment enough, said the man who began the investigation into the scheme, retired NYPD Chief of Department and former MTA security director Louis Anemone.
They bested the Manhattan DA’s Office on this one,” Anemone said of the Figliolias, calling the family “the lowest of the low.”
“When you get a sense of the extent of the corruption they were involved in, and for years prior to this indictment, it’s mind boggling that they got such an advantageous deal,” he said.
Yesterday’s guilty pleas, in Manhattan Supreme Court, sends to prison for at least 1 3/4 years the family patriarch, Alex Figliolia , 60 — notorious for tooling around Brooklyn’s Carroll Street in a chauffeured, custom-made, Mercedes stretch limo, license plate, “Mr. Fig.”
The son, Alex Jr. — against whom Manhattan prosecutors had the strongest case — gets 2 3/4 years prison for racketeering, grand larceny and bribery and money laundering.
Prosecutors said Alex Jr., 31, a married Staten Islander, was the scheme’s wheeler-dealer, taking crooked MTA officials to Flashdancers and other pricey hot spots in the course of doing “business.”
Alex Sr.’s wife, Janet, 54 — mistress of the $4 million Holmdel mansion and an $800,000 jewelry collection — got five years’ probation. Prosecutors say she ran the operation’s bogus payroll, the company’s major illicit money-maker.
The Figliolias pocketed more than a million dollars by paying its mostly immigrant labor force as little as $8 an hour, while charging the MTA the prevailing union wage for plumbers, anywhere from $65 to $135 an hour, prosecutors charged.
Three corrupt MTA officials — former director of facility operations Howard Weissman, former facilities manager Ronald Allan and ex-building manager Gary Weissbard — have already pleaded guilty to taking bribes from the Figliolias to look the other way as the family overcharged on materials and labor.
Just how much of a financial hit the Figliolias will take is unclear. At the least, they’ll lose their license to do government contracts — the bulk of their income.
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