Three Massachusetts Men Sentenced for DBE Fraud
On December 17, 2012, Dennis DeGrazia and David Hebert were sentenced in U.S. District Court, Boston, Massachusetts, for their roles in a conspiracy to defraud the United States in a scheme to impede, impair, and obstruct the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. DeGrazia was sentenced to 30 days of incarceration, two years of supervised release, and a $20,000 fine. Hebert, was sentenced to two years of supervised release and a $2,000 fine. A third defendant, Robert Dickerson was sentenced on December 18, 2012, to 30 days of incarceration, two years of supervised release, and $10,000 fine.
Dickerson is the sole proprietor of Woodchuck's Building and Home Center (Woodchuck's), a state certified DBE. DeGrazia and Hebert were partial owners of U.S. Window and Door Construction, Inc., a company that was awarded Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-funded Residential Soundproofing Improvement Program contracts by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) in excess of $2.5 million.
For approximately 10 years, DeGrazia and Hebert indicated that Dickerson, doing business as Woodchuck's, was a supplier of windows and doors and eligible towards its DBE goal on each contract. All parties knew that Dickerson was merely a pass-through and would not actually be supplying any materials, incurring any expenses or performing any work. Throughout approximately 10 years, companies that Hebert and DeGrazia worked for or owned were awarded over $9.5 million in FAA-funded residential soundproofing contracts. Dickerson was paid a fee of up to four percent of the material costs for his role in the conspiracy. With Dickerson's concurrence, the defendants submitted false documents to Massport in order to conceal Dickerson's lack of activity and to give the appearance that the DBE goal had been met.