Greenwich Man Pleads Guilty to Corruption and Tax Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 18, 2009|
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSEPH M. PONTORIERO, 70, of Greenwich, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to one count of giving a gratuity to a public official, and one count of willfully failing to provide information to the Internal Revenue Service.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2000 and 2001, PONTORIERO was the principal, president, and 93 percent shareholder of Worth Construction Company, Inc., a construction company based in Bethel that did work in Connecticut and elsewhere. PONTORIERO sought and received contracts with the City of Waterbury for Worth Construction and entities he promoted. During 2000 and 2001, PONTORIERO and former Waterbury Mayor Philip A. Giordano had both a business and personal relationship.
In pleading guilty, PONTORIERO admitted that he gave things of value to Giordano, including $8,300 in designer clothing and a $12,000 loan, which was never repaid, that Giordano used to purchase a 2000 Chevrolet Venture special edition minivan from a New Jersey auto dealership. The gratuities were given to Giordano when he had the power to, and did, authorize the City of Waterbury to expedite the release of funds to Worth Construction for work it had done on the City’s multimillion dollar wastewater treatment facility project.
In addition, PONTORIERO was involved in the high-end automobile trade and, during the 1997 to 2001 tax years, he failed to report approximately $71,985 in income he received from the sale of vehicles.
PONTORIERO has previously paid $31,057 in back taxes, plus penalties and interest.
Judge Underhill has scheduled sentencing for March 8, 2010, at which time PONTORIERO faces a maximum term of imprisonment of three years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $350,000.
As part of the resolution of this case, PONTORIERO agreed that he will no longer work for, or be involved in the operation of, Worth Construction, except to the extent necessary to support bonding.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter S. Jongbloed.