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Former Ohio Bridge Inspector Ordered To Pay $400,000 In Restitution For Falsifying Inspection Reports

On July 10, Ralph F. Smith III, a former Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) bridge inspector, was ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution as a result of his guilty plea to charges related to the falsification of bridge painting inspection reports on a federally–funded project in Lake County, Ohio. Smith was also ordered to serve five years probation and four months home confinement. He pleaded guilty in April 2006 to charges of making false statements regarding the quantity and quality of work performed by a painting contractor in exchange for a trip to Las Vegas and $4,000 in cash.

Between April 2001 and July 2001, Smith falsified daily inspection reports to indicate that the contractor had scraped, sanded and primed bridge surfaces prior to painting, when in fact he knew the painting contractor had failed to do so. Smith was suspended by ODOT from working on any Federally–funded transportation projects. This case was investigated with the FBI.