Former Connecticut Bridge Inspector Pleads Guilty to Falsifying Educational Background to Obtain Employment
On February 26, 2015, Barry Kenneth Purnell, Jr. pleaded guilty to state charges in Connecticut Superior Court, Hartford, Connecticut, related to a scheme to obtain employment as a consultant bridge inspector under false pretenses. In March 2014, Purnell was charged and surrendered for arrest at the offices of the Connecticut Chief State's Attorney in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
This investigation was initiated based upon a referral from the Connecticut Department of Transportation that Purnell falsified his college education and engineering certifications on his resume which he submitted to engineering firms in order to gain employment. Purnell subsequently worked as an inspector and bridge inspector on many federal projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and state funded construction projects for multiple engineering firms and continued to seek employment utilizing the fabricated credentials. In a December 2013 interview, Purnell acknowledged to federal agents that he falsified his application materials and fabricated a diploma.
In April 2014, the Federal Highway Administration suspended and proposed the debarment of Purnell in response to charges filed against him. We worked this investigation jointly with Amtrak-OIG.