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North Merrick man faces bid-rigging charges, AG says

A North Merrick man is facing a felony charge in connection with a bid-rigging scheme that state prosecutors said was designed to elbow out competition for a contract for work on a high-end apartment building in Brooklyn, officials said.

Anthony Melohnic, 43, of North Merrick was arrested and indicted Thursday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on a charge of violating the Donnelly Act, the state’s antitrust law that prohibits price fixing, bid-rigging and monopolies, among other things, said state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

In a news release issued Thursday afternoon, he also named Christopher Chierchio, 49, of Staten Island as a co-defendant in the alleged scheme.

Schneiderman said the two men conspired to block competitive bids to supply plumbing, sprinkler and heating-ventilation-air conditioning services for a new luxury residence at 613 Baltic St. in Brooklyn.

Their attorneys could not be reached for comment.

“We have zero tolerance for crooks who try to game the system to line their pockets,” Schneiderman said. “We’ll continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to crack down on bid-rigging, tax fraud, and all other forms of corruption.”

Chierchio, who Schneiderman described as a “soldier” in the Genovese organized crime family, is also charged with criminal tax fraud for alleged personal income tax evasion.

The arrests come as a result of a joint investigation by several law enforcement agencies including the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, New York City Police Department’s Criminal Enterprise Investigations Section, the New York City Department of Investigations, the federal Department of Labor - Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the state Department of Taxation and Finance.

“Bid-rigging undercuts fairness and equality in the contracting process,” said DOI Commissioner Mark Peters. “DOI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to expose and stop this type of pernicious corruption.”

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