An official from the paving company that oversaw the East Burlington Street reconstruction project in Riverside will spend time behind bars for scheming to underpay workers and failing to make required union pension fund contributions between 2008 and 2013.
Judge Sara L. Ellis on Jan. 19 sentenced Joseph Lampignano, vice president of A Lamp Road Builders, to 10 months in federal prison, followed by one year of court supervision. Lampignano was also ordered to pay a fine of $46,000 and to pay $64,000 in restitution to workers from whom he sought kickbacks after settling a prior lawsuit over back wages.
The court order, which was filed Feb. 3, states that Lampignano must report to the Oxford, Wisconsin, federal prison camp by Feb. 24. The Oxford Camp is a minimum-security facility.
In June 2016, Lampignano pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, while A Lamp’s general superintendent, Giovanni “John” Traversa, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators.
The guilty pleas came just two weeks after both two men were charged. At the time, the company was in the midst of reconstructing Riverside’s central business district streetscape on East Burlington Street. The lawsuit had no effect on and was not connected to the project, which was completed last fall.
In 2013, A Lamp Road Builders settled a civil lawsuit involving a scheme to skirt prevailing wage laws by underpaying laborers employed on government-funded road building projects. In addition, the company was accused of making less-than-required contributions to a union pension fund.
After settling the lawsuit and paying laborers back wages, Lampignano sought to recoup that money in the form of kickbacks from workers and enlisted Traversa to pressure workers to repay the money.
Eleven workers in all ended up kicking back $64,000 to the company, according to court documents.
Federal prosecutors had sought a prison term of about four years based on federal sentencing guidelines, noting that Lampignano’s prior criminal record was insubstantial but that a prison term “would serve as an adequate deterrent and reflect just punishment for the offense.”
Traversa, an Italian citizen who holds permanent resident status, was scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 7, after press time. Prosecutors sought a sentence of between 12 and 18 months in prison, but noted that Traversa had no prior criminal record.
But Traversa’s attorney argued that he should be sentenced to prison, “there is a high likelihood that John will be subject to deportation from the United States and risks being removed from the United States after completing this sentence.”
As a result, Traversa’s attorney has asked the court to sentence him to probation, stating that “John’s likely deportation serves a greater deterrence value than any period of statutorily permissible imprisonment.”