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New York concrete testing company charged with forging reports

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Executives at a concrete testing company were arraigned on Thursday on charges of falsifying thousands of reports on public and private projects, including the new Yankee Stadium and an air-traffic control tower at LaGuardia Airport.

Prosecutors accused American Standard Testing and Consulting Laboratories of fabricating virtually all of its work from 1997 to 2009, earning millions of dollars in fees on a variety of projects both large and small.

"The volume of fabricated tests is egregious," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Thursday. "It was systematic. It was pervasive."

American Standard's owner, Alan Fortich, his brother Alvaro Fortich and four engineers all pleaded not guilty to charges of enterprise corruption and other related crimes in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Fortich was released on $250,000 bond, while the other defendants were released in exchange for surrendering their passports. Lawyers for the accused denied the allegations.

The indictment comes one year after executives at Testwell Laboratories, once one of the city's chief concrete testing companies, were found guilty of enterprise corruption after faking results at many of the same projects.

Prosecutors said investigators started looking into tests the two companies had done at Yankee Stadium three years ago.

The city's buildings department plans to work with property owners to determine whether retesting is required at any of the sites, but officials said they are unaware of any safety concerns.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Chris Michaud and Jerry Norton)

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