Guilty Plea, Sentencing In New Haven Union Station Renovation Project
On October 16, Louis F. Testa, 65, of Woodbridge, CT pled guilty in U.S. District Court in New Haven, CT to a one-count information charging him with falsifying his tax returns by not claiming over $282,000 in receipts from his contracting business, Merritt Builders. The company was awarded a $300,000 contract in 2003 by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) to renovate Union Station in New Haven in 2003. At the direction of two ConnDOT officials, Testa paid a contractor $10,000 to prepare fraudulent bids for the renovation project. Testa also purchased household appliances (e.g., big screen televisions, refrigerators, etc.) for ConnDOT employees, with the understanding that the expenses would be billed to ConnDOT under the renovation project. Tetsa also provided $3,500 in cash to a ConnDOT official who used the money for "petty cash" and for a holiday party. Testa is scheduled to be sentenced on January 5, 2007. Although ConnDOT received approximately $130 million in grants for 35 separate projects from approximately 2000 to 2004, the investigation did not disclose that Federal monies were used for the renovation project.
In a related action, Raymond Cox of Plymouth, CT, the former Assistant Rail Administrator for ConnDOT, was sentenced October 19 in U.S. District Court in New Haven to serve two months in prison and pay $3,000 for his role in the Union Station fraud scheme. Cox was responsible for administering the renovation in New Haven, CT. Cox admitted that between June 2003 and May 2004, he instructed Testa to purchase the household appliances for ConnDOT employees. Cox also directed Testa to provide $3,500 in cash to another individual in order to prepare fake bids for the renovation project. In March 2005, after learning of the OIG's investigation, Cox attempted to persuade two ConnDOT employees to get rid of illicitly obtained household appliances. He was placed on administrative leave in October 2004 and later resigned. Our investigation was worked jointly by DOT-OIG, FBI, IRS/CID and the Connecticut Department of Transportation.