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Washington Man Sentenced for Providing False Documents on Seattle's Light Rail Project

On February 19, 2010, David Appleby, president of Appleby NW, a steel fabrication company in Granite Falls, Washington, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to one year probation, a $20,000 fine and $30,523 in restitution for making and using false documents in relation to his work on the $2.4 billion Sound Transit Light Rail.

Mr. Appleby successfully bid to fabricate steel casings for the footings for the four mile elevated portion of the Tukwila, Washington, Light Rail-Line Project (Sound Transit). The casings are large metal tubes, ten or twelve feet in diameter that encase the concrete pilings just below the surface and are supposed to be manufactured from M270 Grade 50 steel. Mr. Appleby purchased steel plates from Oregon Steel Mills, Inc. to fabricate into the casings. After the first batch of steel plates were ordered, Mr. Appleby became aware that the steel did not meet the contract specifications. Mr. Appleby continued to purchase and use Grade 36 steel, from Oregon Steel Mills and he provided falsified reports to Sound Transit to make it appear that Appleby NW, Inc. had fabricated the casings out of Grade 50 steel. Between May 2005 and November 2006, Mr. Appleby falsified 36 reports and provided them to Sound Transit, who in turn provided them to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Appleby NW, Inc. supplied more than 150 casings to the light rail project, the majority of which did not meet the contract standards. Both Sound Transit and FTA asked experts to evaluate the use of the lesser grade steel. The studies concluded there is no safety issue.

This case was investigated by the Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General and Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance provided by FTA.