Connecticut Contractor Fined $230,000 for Failing to Disclose Income on New Haven Union Station Renovation Project
On May 16, Louis F. Testa, of Woodbridge, Connecticut, was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge in New Haven, Connecticut to pay $230,000 in fines, restitution and taxes for his role in fraud involving the renovation of New Haven's Union Station. Testa, who pleaded guilty on October 16, 2006, to a charge of failing to declare almost $400,000 in business and personal income on his Federal tax return, was also ordered to serve two years probation and four months home confinement. Testa falsified his tax returns from calendar years 2001 through 2004 by not claiming over $282,000 in receipts from his contracting business, Merritt Builders. Testa also failed to claim over $100,000 in income on his personal tax return.
Merritt Builders was awarded a $300,000 contract by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) to renovate Union Station Renovation Project in 2003. In order to circumvent the competitive bidding process and direct the project to Testa's company, two ConnDOT officials instructed a contractor to prepare two false bids in excess of Testa's bid. Testa was instructed to pay the contractor $3,000. He was also instructed to purchase big-screen televisions and refrigerators for ConnDOT employees. The household goods were billed to the renovation project.
Testa was debarred in February by FTA for three years. The two ConnDOT managers and the contractor who prepared the false bids were also debarred. OIG investigated this case with the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division and ConnDOT.