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Owner of New York Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Sentenced in Connection with Contract Fraud

Irving Walston, of Riverhead, NY, owner of Ego Spirit, Inc. (Ego), a certified DBE firm in Cambria Heights, NY was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Central Islip, NY to three years probation and over $15,000 in fines and back taxes. Walston pled guilty in July 2003 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with tax returns which improperly documented income and expenses on fraudulent DBE contracts valued at about $1.4 million and with Davis-Bacon Act violations. Watson used Ego as a ‘front’ DBE, receiving payments from other firms which actually performed the work under DOT-funded construction contracts Ego held. Debarment of Walston by FHWA is under consideration. This investigation was conducted jointly with the Federal Construction Fraud Task Force, Long Island, NY.