From the Brooklyn Eagle:
Two men were convicted Thursday of posing as inspectors, complete with hardhats bearing an official-sounding name, to shake down builders for tens of thousands of dollars by threatening to report bogus violations in Brooklyn and throughout the city.
A jury found Kyle Correll, 43, and Anthony Lewis, 41, guilty of racketeering and other charges. Each faces up to 25 years in prison at sentencing. Lewis already is serving at least nine years on an identity theft conviction.
Correll plans to appeal, said defense lawyer Arnold Levine, who said the two men ran a legitimate business. Lewis’ lawyer didn’t immediately return a telephone call Thursday evening seeking comment. The case was one of a series of Manhattan district attorney’s office prosecutions in recent years targeting extortion among the city’s minority labor coalitions, groups initially aimed at integrating building trades but later rife with intimidation squads, according to authorities.
Lewis and Correll implied they were working for a government agency as they arrived at job sites with clipboards, video cameras and hardhats emblazoned with “Committee on Contract Compliance,” prosecutors said. They said the two might have found some legitimate violations but mostly just took up time with unnecessary inspections and then turned up later to demand payments. When contractors brushed them off, the men made fake complaints of violations to a host of city and federal agencies, prosecutors said.