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A U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration officer and his brother have been accused of trying to extort money from a New Jersey general contractor.
Alvaro Idrovo of Bloomfield, New Jersey, and his brother, Paul Idrovo a/k/a Jose Diaz of Nutley, New Jersey, were scheduled to appear in court Thursday via videoconference on charges that they knowingly and intentionally conspired to extort under color of Mr. Idrovo’s position as an OSHA officer, District of New Jersey Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a statement.
According to the complaint, Mr. Idrovo was assigned to investigate the misuse of an extension ladder at a worksite in North Bergen, New Jersey. He allegedly told the owner that he was in violation of OSHA regulations for failing to maintain safety training certificates for ladder workers, and told him he could purchase them from a man named Jose Diaz or be subject to “exorbitant” OSHA fines and possible arrest. The lawsuit claims that his brother posed as Jose Diaz and told the company owner the certificates would cost $13,000 in cash, but the three eventually negotiated the fee to $6,000.
When OSHA learned of the alleged extortion attempt, the agency referred the matter to federal law enforcement officials who had the company owner record conversations with Mr. Idrovo and his brother, and paid the $6,000 for the training certificates, which falsely claimed that training had been provided in March 2020, that the training had been provided by the fictitious Mr. Diaz and that it was OSHA certified.
The brothers’ conspiracy charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
(Reuters) — Hackers are demanding increasingly hefty ransoms to free computers paralyzed with viruses, as cyber criminals seek to maximize profits from large numbers of victims willing to pay up, according to cyber security firm Symantec Corp.