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DA: Brightwaters business and owner bilked Wading River Fire District

A Brightwaters business owner and his company have pleaded guilty to fraudulently billing the Wading River Fire District and failing to pay subcontractors who worked at the site, Suffolk District Attorney Tim Sini announced Tuesday.

The company, Environmental Compliance Associates Corp., pleaded guilty to offering a false instrument for filing first degree, a class E felony. The corporation was fined $10,000 by Suffolk County District Court Judge Richard Dunne.

In addition, Nicholas Guercio, 41, the company owner, pleaded guilty to a violation and was sentenced to a conditional discharge. He and the company are required to pay $82,605 in restitution, Mr. Sini said in a release.

“This company was stealing money from the fire district — and by extension the taxpayers — with the left hand and shortchanging workers with the right,” Mr. Sini said in the release.

The firm was hired as the general contractor for the fire district’s underground fuel storage system, which, along with other work, totaled approximately $325,000 in costs.

“During the course of the project, the defendants submitted multiple forged lien releases purportedly signed by subcontractors on the project claiming they had been paid when they had not been,” the release said. “They also submitted sworn affidavits claiming all subcontractors and vendors had been paid when they had not been, and billed the fire district $15,000 for a performance bond that was never purchased.”

The $82,605 represents the amount received from the district for the performance bond and purported payments to three subcontractors and a parts supplier.