An OSHA officer from Bloomfield and his brother conspired to extort a general contractor at a North Bergen work site, said federal authorities who tapped one of their meetings.
Assigned to investigate the alleged misuse of an extension ladder, Alvaro Idrovo, 44, told the contractor he was violating OSHA regulations for not having the necessary safety training certificates for his workers to be on ladders, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Idrovo told the owner he’d be “subject to exorbitant fines and possible arrest” if he didn’t obtain the certificates, which he said were available through a vendor named “Jose Diaz,” Carpenito said.
“Diaz” was, in fact, his brother, Paul Idrovo, 46, of Nutley, the U.S. attorney said.
Paul Idrovo told the contractor the required OSHA training certificates would cost $13,000 in cash “and repeated Alvaro Idrovo’s false assertions” that he’d be in “big trouble with OSHA” if he didn’t comply, Carpenito said.
The contractor negotiated the fee down to $6,000 in cash in follow-up phone calls with Paul Idrovo, he said.
OSHA officials referred the matter to federal law enforcement authorities, who recorded conversations between the contractor and the brothers.
Federal agents were listening when the contractor paid Paul Idrovo $6,000 in cash in exchange for ladder and safety awareness training certificates and a safety and health plan, Carpenito said.
Alvaro Idrovo then “attached copies of the training certificates and the plan to his OSHA reports” claiming that “Jose Diaz” had trained the employees, he said.
Federal authorities charged both men with “knowingly and intentionally conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, specifically to commit an act of extortion under color of Alvaro Idrovo’s office or employment with OSHA.”
Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and special agents of the FBI with the investigation leading to the charges.
Senior Trial Counsel Leslie Faye Schwartz of Carpenito’s Special Prosecutions Division is handling the case for the government.
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