Florida Contractor Convicted for Bribery Relating to Programs Receiving Federal Funding
On February 13, 2013, in U.S. District Court, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Anthoneel Allen, President and owner, Southeast Underground and Utilities, Inc. (SUU), pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in programs receiving federal funds, highway fraud, mail fraud, extortion under color of official right, tax fraud, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) fraud. On February 1, 2013, James Hashim, former Vice President, SUU, pled guilty to similar charges.
The investigation revealed that Allen owned SUU located in Plantation, Florida. SUU installed, repaired and maintained street lights and traffic signals. Prior to 2005, SUU did not have any contracts with the Broward County government or any Broward County municipality. In or about 2005, Allen hired James Hashim to become SUU's Vice President. Hashim worked as an estimator and helped SUU obtain government contracts. Allen admitted that beginning in 2006 through 2010, he and Hashim provided Jihad El Eid more than $150,000 in cash; a 2003 Ford Taurus; and a job at SUU for El Eid's relative, Wael El Eid, in order to gain favor with Jihad El Eid. In return, Jihad El Eid helped SUU obtain work on significant multi-million dollar projects initiated by the Broward County Traffic Engineering Division, including: the Signalization and Street Light Installation (SSLI) contract, a contract to make installations and repairs of the street lights and traffic equipment in Broward County; the Advanced Transportation Management System Project, a federally-funded project, which required the contractor to install an integrated traffic control system which entailed laying underground cable and conduit in order to synchronize traffic flow within Broward County; and the Video Detection Contract, which required the contractor to install video detection cameras in various intersections in Broward County in order to improve traffic flow. Jihad El Eid also assisted SUU with billing and specification and inspection matters that resulted in SUU being overpaid by at least $3,000,000.
Allen also admitted that he and Hashim conspired to evade paying federal income and employment taxes on bonuses and payments made by SUU related to the purchase of Hashim's $1.25 million house in Plantation. Allen also admitted that he filed a fraudulent application on behalf of SUU to have SUU certified as a DBE, which resulted in SUU being awarded -- directly or as a subcontractor -- approximately 25 contracts from Broward County and other state, county and local governments in Florida based on its fraudulently obtained DBE status, which entitled SUU to receive in excess of $10,000,000 in government contracts.
This investigation was conducted jointly with FBI and IRS/CID.