Massachusetts Man Pleads Guilty to DBE Fraud
On September 5, 2012, Dennis Degrazia, pled guilty in U.S. District Court, Boston, Massachusetts, for his role in a scheme to impede, impair, and obstruct the U.S. Department of Transportation's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. In May 2011, David Hebert, Robert Dickerson, and Mr. Degrazia were indicted in conjunction with this scheme.
Mr. Dickerson is the sole proprietor of Woodchuck's Building and Home Center (Woodchuck's), a state certified DBE. Mr. Degrazia and Mr. 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, Mr. Degrazia and Mr. Hebert indicated that Mr. 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 Mr. 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 Mr. Hebert and Mr. Degrazia worked for or owned were awarded over $9.5 million in FAA-funded residential soundproofing contracts. Mr. Dickerson was paid a fee of up to four percent of the material costs for his role in the conspiracy. With Mr. Dickerson's concurrence, the defendants submitted false documents to Massport in order to conceal Mr. Dickerson's lack of activity and to give the appearance that the DBE goal had been met.