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Owner of DBE Firm Pleads Guilty to Defrauding the Federal Government on a $12 Million Oklahoma Highway Project

On October 3, 2005, Walter Alan Patton, the owner and president of Patton Construction, Inc. (PCI) pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Muskogee, OK to a felony charge of conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with a scheme to violate DBE regulations on a $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. OIG has referred this matter to FHWA for appropriate suspension/debarment action. The investigation was conducted jointly with DCIS, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, and Air Force-OSI.