News

Hillsboro construction contractor charged with money laundering and theft

Original article: Oregon Live story

The owner of a Hillsboro construction company was arraigned Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court on charges of money laundering, racketeering and theft.

Stephen Gregory Nagy, 49, was arraigned Thursday afternoon on 24 counts, including criminal antitrust, racketeering, first-degree theft, obstructing governmental administration, tampering with evidence, first-degree forgery, conspiring and money laundering.

The same charges were also filed against Nagy’s company, S & S Drywall Assemblies.

Authorities wouldn’t talk about the basis for Nagy’s charges, but carpenter union representatives said Nagy’s business practices represent an “underground economy” that plagues the construction industry in Oregon.

Jimmy Matta, of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, said the underground economy consists of contractors who undercut union labor by hiring workers without documentation, paying them low cash wages and not filing taxes.

“Legitimate contractors who have been busting their tails are on the verge of losing their businesses,” Matta said, because of businesses like Nagy’s.

Matta said the union has been working for years to bring to light “contractors who are cheating Oregonians out of tax money.”

Jack Gamboa, the lead Portland representative of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, attended the arraignment with several other carpenters.

Gamboa said they came to the arraignment to support authorities in their investigation and prosecution of Nagy.

“It’s good to see justice being served here today on someone who has been cheating the people,” Gamboa said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Campbell, who is prosecuting the case in state court, asked the court to set bail at $300,000.

Nagy’s attorney, Michael Sahagian, said that amount of bail was excessive and that Nagy’s willingness to show up to court, knowing what he was facing, illustrated that he wasn’t a flight risk.

Campbell said a high bail was necessary because “the motive to flee is going up with today’s charges.”

Judge Eric Butterfield set Nagy’s bail at $250,000.

Nagy posted bail after the hearing and was released. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Thursday, Jan. 20.

Emily E. Smith

 

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