One Convicted Exec is Sentenced, Other Recovers from Suicide Attempt

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Two executives of concrete testing company Testwell Laboratories had been scheduled for sentencing on Wednesday, but the second suicide attempt of one defendant meant that only one received a sentence.

Vincent Barone and V. Reddy Kancharla had been found guilty on several counts of falsifying reports. Their company, Testwell Laboratories, had once been the leading concrete testing company in New York, and had been awarded contracts to work at major construction sites and projects throughout the city, including the new Yankee Stadium, the Second Avenue subway line and the Freedom Tower. Yet Testwell employees completed false safety test reports, including inspection and concrete mix reports, at these and over 100 other construction sites.

Barone, the vice president of Testwell, and Kancharla, its president, were found guilty in February on numerous charges, the most serious of which was enterprise corruption. Just two days after the being convicted on some of the indictment’s lesser charges, Kancharla slit his wrists and took sleeping pills in his Ossining, NY office. He survived that suicide attempt, but made another on the day he was to be sentenced, so that instead of appearing in the courtroom, he was in the hospital.

His lawyer, Paul Shectman, did not disclose the nature of Kancharla’s second try at suicide, but did say that it did not appear to be life-threatening, although Kancharla was unconscious.

Barone was sentenced by a Manhattan judge, State Supreme Court Justice Edward J. McLaughlin, to between five years and 16 years in prison for his role in the fraudulent reporting. He was also fined $15,000, but allowed to remain free pending his appeal.

Kancharla’s sentencing was rescheduled for April 20. If convicted on the most serious of the charges, enterprise corruption, he could receive a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

An investigation into the fraud perpetrated at Testwell cost the city more than $1 million, said the commissioner of the city’s Department of Investigation. The president of the New York Yankees, Randy L. Levine, also wrote to the sentencing judge, saying that the ball club has spent $1.4 million in attempting to expose the corrupt concrete testing company.

Assistant District Attorney Diana Florence had requested that Justice McLaughlin send a strong message to the construction industry that falsifying reports has serious consequences, by giving Barone and Kancharla lengthy sentences. She said that neither defendant was remorseful, but instead continuted to try to justify their crimes.

Had Testwell’s actions not been discovered and stopped, wrote the Yankees’ Levine in his letter, “…the consequences to us and to the public could have been catastrophic.”

 

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