Construction business owner charged with bribing state official

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Samples of work done by RPCL Construction from their website. The owner has been charged with allegedly bribing a state official over lack of employee documentation. Screenshot

LONDONDERRY, NH – Londonderry Police arrested the owner of RPCL Construction for allegedly bribing a state official $28,000 for information and relief from inspections and fines related to a lack of employee documentation. 

On Dec. 21, authorities arrested and charged Rogelio Perez-Lorenzo of North Reading, Mass., with bribery of a public official, a Class B felony.

The state Attorney General’s office declined to prosecute the case, leaving the matter with local law enforcement.

According to an arrest report and an arrest warrant affidavit, Perez-Lorenzo made the initial offer to Department of Labor Inspector Andres Benitez in Spanish on July 2, 2020, during a phone call. Benitez transcribed the conversation from memory. 

Inspector Philip Martineau was witness to the call and Benitez’s shocked reaction, but did not understand what was being said.

After Benitez asked for the documents, Perez-Lorenzo said he could not produce them because his wife had them in their Panama office and the flights were all canceled. Benitez said the documents need to be available at all times. This is allegedly when Perez-Lorenzo began to make his appeal.

“You are Colombian and I have lots of people who work for me,” Perez-Lorenzo allegedly said. “They tell me to tell you to make me a deal. Tell me, “We square” something, whatever you say. Help me and I will help you. You know what I am saying?”

Benitez said he can only help him if he produces the documents. Perez-Lorenzo accused the state of threatening immigration action, but Benitez said they are trying to get the documentation to avoid immigration enforcement getting involved. They go back and forth on this until Perez-Lorenzo allegedly made a specific offer of cash.

“Look someone told me a secret. I was told you are following me because I have been growing my business and many envy me. And for that information, I also will pay. My last fine was $2,800 and I will pay 10x that amount for information. $28,000 for you to tell me who is sending you to my jobs. Only that. Just tell me who. Just give me the name of the person and I will give you $28,000 real soon,” Perez-Lorenzo said, according to Benitez’s recollection.

Police further allege the bribe was intended to make the problem go away.

“Rogelio advised this monetary offer was to make the documentation issue disappear and for the name of the person providing the Dept. of Labor RCPL (sic) Construction locations,” Det. Jonathan Cruz wrote in the arrest warrant affidavit. 

The phone call happened at a Londonderry construction site after the inspectors had issued their third compliance warning for a lack of employee documentation required by state law. The department had previously issued compliance warnings to RPCL during “routine compliance checks” at a construction site in Salem on Feb. 5, 2020, and again at the same site on June 10, 2020.

The Department of Labor notified the Londonderry Police Department of the alleged bribery attempt five days after the phone call. In August, Det. Cruz translated Benitez’s transcription from memory into English. 

A month later, after the Justice Department provided authorization to record phone calls with Perez-Lorenzo, Benitez made a couple more follow-up calls with him. Perez-Lorenzo said he still could not produce the paperwork and asked Benitez how he could “fix this.”

Cruz made a number of attempts to talk to Perez-Lorenzo and set up a meeting, but Perez-Lorenzo refused to meet with him at the police station or elsewhere or converse by phone with consent to record. 

Ultimately, Perez-Lorenzo turned himself in on the arrest warrant at the Londonderry Police Department on Dec. 21. He was bailed on $1,000 personal recognizance. 

An arraignment was scheduled for Jan. 6 at Rockingham County Superior Court. 

Since July 20, 2020, RPCL Construction has been registered with the state as a foreign profit corporation. Perez-Lorenzo is listed as president, Dayra Cabrera is listed as director and Timothy Willis as chief marketing officer. 

The company website says it is a framing, siding and roofing company that has been in business in New England for 30 years. It has previously been subcontracted by New-York-based Calamar Construction Management, Artisan Building Group in Middleton, Mass., Fulcrum Associates in Amherst and PROCON in Hooksett.


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Ryan Lessard

Ryan Lessard is a freelance reporter.