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$500K settles claims of runway paving contractor’s alleged DBE fraud

Cleveland-based Anthony Allega Cement Contractor Inc. will pay the United States $500,000 to resolve Department of Justice allegations that it knowingly submitted false claims surrounding compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

Allega was the prime contractor on a new runway at Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport from 2001–2006; contract terms required it to comply with DOT DBE regulations and accurately report DBE participation. The United States alleged that Allega claimed materials and services were provided by a company known as Chem-Ty Environmental. Justice officials contend Chem-Ty was merely a “pass through” entity used to make it appear as if a DBE had performed the work.

“The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program helps businesses owned by minorities and women work on federal construction projects,” says Stuart Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. The government’s claims were based upon an investigation by his division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, DOT’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Federal Aviation Administration.

“Prime contractors and subcontractors are cautioned not to engage in fraudulent DBE activity and encouraged to report any suspected DBE fraud,” says Michelle McVicker, OIG regional special agent in charge. “Our agents will continue to work with the Secretary of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administrator, and law enforcement and prosecutorial colleagues to expose and shut down DBE fraud schemes throughout Ohio and the United States.”