Owner of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Firm Fined $40,000 for Defrauding the Federal Government on a $12 Million Oklahoma Highway Project
On March 29, Walter Alan Patton, owner and president of Patton Construction, Inc. (PCI), Tahlequah, OK was ordered by a U.S. District Court judge in Muskogee, OK to pay a $40,000 fine and serve five years probation for conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with a scheme to violate DBE regulations on a nearly $12 million federally-funded highway widening project. As a certified DBE, PCI's $280,000 subcontract for concrete work on drainage ditch boxes and culverts would have met requirements of the prime contractor for utilizing the direct services of a DBE. Instead, Patton conspired with a non-DBE to perform the work and made false representations in the form of fraudulent payroll reports. Investigation determined that employees listed on PCI payroll reports actually worked for the non-DBE. Patton pled guilty to the felony conspiracy charge in October 2005. The ongoing investigation is being conducted jointly with DCIS, the Oklahoma DOT, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.