Subcontractor charged with dumping pollutants into Susquehanna River, cheating workers

By Hope Stephan
on July 28, 2016 at 10:28 AM

A subcontractor hired for rehabilitation work on the George Wade Bridge in 2009 has been charged with embezzling $400,000 from union benefit and workers’ pension plans related to the work and with dumping pollutants into the river during the project.

Andrew Manganas, 59, and Panthera Painting of Canonsburg were indicted by a federal grand jury in Harrisburg on charges of embezzlement, fraud, false statements and environmental charges under the Clean Water Act related to to overall $42 million project on the bridge that carries Interstate 81 over the Susquehanna River between Cumberland and Dauphin counties.

Panthera was subcontracted for $9,875,000 worth of that work, to blast, resurface and paint the structural steel of the bridge.

Federal oversight required each contractor and subcontractor to submit certified payroll reports for every worker and pay period to certify the federal prevailing wage was being paid.

Manganas and Panthera are accused of engaging in a “side payroll” scheme, U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith said in a press release. Workers received two checks – one for regular hours and a separate “per diem” check. The “per diem” check was for overtime hours worked and did not include required contributions to the workers’ union welfare benefit and individual employees’ pension plans.

The total taken through the scheme, Smith said, came to $400,000 between 2011 and 2013.

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