Consultant for the Florida Department of Transportation Charged with Bribery
On January 23, 2013, in U.S. District Court, Miami, Florida, Ron Capobianco, Jr., former construction engineering and inspection consultant (CEI) for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), was charged with bribery in connection with programs receiving federal funds.
Capobianco, Jr. worked as CEI at Metric Engineering, Inc., (Metric), which was contracted by FDOT to provide many services, including designing, inspecting, and troubleshooting the construction of roads, signs, and traffic signals. Capobianco, Jr. was assigned as the FDOT District 4 Signalization and Lighting Liaison and acted as FDOT's project manager for many projects. Capobianco, Jr. was consulted as a FDOT expert on certain aspects of signalization and lighting construction, including the use of video detection cameras for traffic signalization and control.
The investigation revealed that around 2009, FDOT began a road construction project along Highway 1 in the Florida Keys, named the Marathon Key project, which was designed to improve traffic flow. In May 2009, an agent of the subcontractor working on this project offered to pay Capobianco, Jr. $5,000 if the subcontractor could receive at least $25,000 for the installation of the video detection equipment. Capobianco, Jr. agreed to the subcontractor's $25,000 estimate for the installation of the video detection devices, thus enabling the subcontractor to make a significant profit. The subcontractor's estimate was approved and subsequently paid by the State of Florida after the installation of the video detection equipment. Capobianco, Jr. met with the subcontractor in Plantation, Florida, and was paid $4,000 in cash for his assistance to the subcontractor.
This investigation was conducted jointly with the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation Division.