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What you need to know for 01/18/2018

Local pair accused of contracting scam

Local pair accused of contracting scam

Rex Earth organized in April 2013 and began doing business with Plank Construction Services a short
Local pair accused of contracting scam
Pictured is William M. Larned & Sons, Inc. located at 544 Burdeck St. in Rotterdam.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Rex Earth organized in April 2013 and began doing business with Plank Construction Services a short time later.

The limited liability corporation would hire independent truckers to supply the general contractor with materials, then arrange for an invoice to be sent to Frank Corradi, a supervisor with Plank’s earthwork division. Corradi would then forward the bills to his employer for payment.

But the amount of materials being brought in by Rex Earth — a company that shares a Schenectady post office box with William M. Larned & Sons — didn’t add up to what Corradi was submitting on the invoices, an investigation later determined. When police reviewed the records, they found that Rex Earth had bilked roughly $373,000 from Plank on 11 occasions between May 2013 and January 2014.

“Corradi would have Rex Earth bill Plank for trucks and material, and then Plank would pay Rex Earth,” explained Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney. “Rex Earth would split the money with Corradi.”

Corradi, 49, of Glenville, was arrested Tuesday along with 62-year-old Timothy Larned of Rotterdam. Together, the two are accused of swindling nearly a half-million dollars from Plank, a Schenectady-based general contractor that has worked on a number of large public and private projects throughout the Capital Region, for work that was never performed or materials never delivered.

Corradi was charged with 11 counts of third-degree grand larceny, two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, money laundering and falsifying business records. He was arraigned in Schenectady City Court on Tuesday and released after posting $60,000 bond.

Larned, 62, was charged with single counts of grand larceny and money laundering, in addition to the felony charge of money laundering. He was released on $30,000 following his court appearance Tuesday.

An attorney of record for Corradi could not be determined Wednesday. Larned’s attorney, Karl Sleight, said his client didn’t do anything wrong and will ultimately be exonerated.

“The proof will ultimately show that Tim was a victim in this matter,” he said via email. “Tim has received great support from the business community and his friends, for which he is very grateful.”

Investigators believe Corradi, who was tasked with hiring contractors to perform work, was actually using Rex Earth exclusively as a shell company to overcharge his employer. Police claim Plank paid invoices to a First Niagara account belonging to Rex Earth, which allowed Corradi to transfer the funds into his personal account to be used for expenses ranging from his car payment to his mortgage.

Separately, Larned is accused of bilking $42,926 from Plank in July 2012 for services that were never performed by his company. Investigators claim Larned withdrew the funds from his company’s bank account, then issued two $22,000 checks to Paul DiCocco, an individual listed in the criminal complaint who hasn’t been charged in the case.

The joint probe involving Schenectady Police and state troopers resulted in a search warrant being executed at Larned’s business this week. Carney said an investigation into the complex case is continuing and additional arrests could be forthcoming.

“It’s early in the investigation,” he said.

Larned’s business is one of the preeminent gravel and material haulers in the Capital Region. In Rotterdam, he helped build many large-scale developments, including Office Max, BJ’s Wholesale, Hollywood Plaza and even the Rotterdam Square mall.

More recently, Larned has worked to develop a 248-unit apartment complex at the old Rotterdam Republican Club. As part of the project, he sold nearly 9 acres of property off Burdeck Street and behind Rotterdam’s wastewater treatment plant to Schenectady County for $260,000 so that the Rotterdam Little League could build ball fields.

Larned, whose company is frequently contracted by Rotterdam, was involved in a corruption scandal centering around James Constantino, the town’s disgraced former supervisor. In 1997, Larned gave Constantino $8,000 in cash as part of a kickback the supervisor requested after urging the contractor to lower the price of clearing a project site for John DeGeorgio, his close friend and director of the town Department of Parks, Recreation and Senior Services.

Constantino was later convicted of extortion and served 18 months in federal prison. DeGeorgio, who received $12,000 from Larned, was never charged.

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