Schaumburg contractor charged with underpaying union workers

(CHICAGO) The owner of a northwest suburban Schaumburg construction company has been charged with fraud for allegedly underpaying union employees and underfunding their pensions.

Joseph Lampignano, 43, of Itasca, is charged with one count of mail fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Prosecutors said Lampignano, co-owner of A Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc., assigned workers to government-funded road construction projects without paying them the union-negotiated wage rate. He is accused of underpaying workers by more than $1.5 million between 2008 and 2013.

Over the same period, Lampignano submitted false reports to the union’s pension and welfare funds which underreported the number of hours some of the laborers worked, according to prosecutors. These reports lowered the amount of contributions the company was required to make to the funds by more than $1 million.

Lampignano and his superintendent, 46-year-old Giovanni “John” Traversa of Bartlett, are also accused of making employees repay the company part of the settlements they received from a civil lawsuit over unpaid wages, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The company paid $545,357 to 24 employees as part of a lawsuit brought by the union, prosecutors said. Prosecutors claim Lampignano and Traversa used their positions of authority to solicit kickbacks totaling at least $64,000 from employees who received settlement funds.

The fraud charge against Lampignano is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, prosecutors said. Traversa was also charged with one count of making false statements to the FBI and the U.S. labor department’s inspector general’s office, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

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