Brooklyn company indicted for running fake construction safety school: Manhattan DA | #schoolsaftey

A Brooklyn-based company and six of its employees have been indicted for running a sham safety training program with about 20,000 students, including a construction worker who died after falling from an Upper West Side building, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said on Wednesday.

Valor Security & Investigations allegedly sold safety training certifications for construction workers that should have taken a minimum of 40 hours to complete. City officials say that workers who received fake certifications could have them revoked in the coming weeks.

The company and the six employees, including executives, are charged with enterprise corruption and other charges. Valor and three of its staff face one count each of reckless endangerment in the second degree for their alleged role in the 2022 death of Ivan Frias, who died after he fell from the 15th floor of the building at 263 West End Ave. after Valor issued him a fraudulent certification for training he did not receive, Bragg’s office said.

The company’s President Alexander Shaporov, its Training Director Richard Marini and its General Manager Nigina Zokirova face up to 25 years in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors. The indictment states that Valor charged between $300 and $600 per filing for basic training cards and was often paid in cash.

Nineteen other people are accused of acting as brokers in the alleged racket, which ran from 2019 to 2023. Those include a foreman for the New York City Housing Authority and two master plumbers who had their licenses immediately suspended and will force NYCHA to resubmit permit applications and audit the work, city Department of Buildings officials said.

“NYCHA has zero tolerance for wrongful or illegal activity and will continue to work collaboratively with our law enforcement and oversight partners to rid the Authority of malfeasance,” NYCHA spokesperson Michael Horgan said in an email.

The defendants’ attorney information was not immediately available. Calls to Valor on Wednesday were not answered and messages were not returned.

“Fraud can mean life and death, not only for the hardworking workers on our construction sites, but for all of us pedestrians and motorists who navigate around these sites every day,” Bragg said at a press conference at his office.

He said no charges will be brought against the “students” who gained safety certifications without taking courses.

“Those that were perpetuating this scheme and making the thousands and thousands of dollars are the centerpiece of the indictment,” Bragg added.

DOB Commissioner James Oddo said the false safety certifications Valor allegedly issued will be suspended and could be revoked. He urged those who received fraudulent paperwork to get retrained.

“We will give them two weeks to respond to our original suspension, then at DOB we will make a determination if we’re going to fully revoke [the certifications],” Oddo said. “If we fully revoke all 20,000 of these cards they become invalid with a press of a button.”

Valor was the city’s third-largest construction safety training school, according to Oddo. There are currently more than 378,000 active site safety training ID cards that have been issued by more than 150 approved providers, officials said.

This story has been updated with comment from NYCHA.

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