Lend Lease will pay up to $US56 million ($AU54.2 million) in penalties after it admitted to a decade-long fraud in New York City.
The construction and property giant admitted to overcharging customers and ignoring minority hiring mandates for a decade, sparking the largest construction settlement in New York history, The Australian reports.
The penalty was made public after a deferred prosecution agreement in a US District Court in Brooklyn, which described the penalty and restitution to be paid by Lend Lease US Construction, a division of its Australian parent company.
US district attorney Loretta Lynch said the company “deceived their customers and stole taxpayer dollars” and suggested the conduct may have encompassed other parts of the industry, according to the New York Times (NYT).
The company routinely paid foremen for one or two hours of daily overtime that they never worked, according to court papers examined by the NYT.
James Abadie, 55, the former head of Lend Lease’s New York office, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud is facing up to 20 years in prison.
The company has worked on huge projects including the September 11 memorial, the renovation of New York’s Grand Central Station and the New York Mets’ stadium.
Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) national secretary David Noonan told The Australian projects in Australia needed to be investigated.
“The CFMEU has concerns that Lend Lease may have engaged in similar behaviour in Australia,” Noonan said.
Lend Lease made a statement to the ASX saying the activities related to past billing practices that were no longer occurring.