Asphalt Companies Agree to $7.2 Million Civil Settlement Related to an FAA Funded Airport Project in Puerto Rico
On March 18, 2015, BTB Corporation (BTB), BTB President Juan Vazquez, R&F Asphalt Unlimited, Incorporated (R&F Asphalt), and R&F Asphalt Secretary/Operations Manager Juan Raul Robles, entered into a civil settlement agreement with the United States in U.S. District Court, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and agreed to pay $7,211,258 related to a fraud scheme involving an airport construction project in Puerto Rico.
This investigation was based on a civil qui tam complaint filed by Betteroads Asphalt, LLC. BTB and R&F Asphalt allegedly conspired to knowingly and willfully defraud the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and made false representations in connection with a taxiway rehabilitation project at the Rafael Hernandez International Airport (BQN) in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. BTB and R&F Asphalt allegedly submitted falsified certificates of compliance to cover up the fact that they substituted a different asphalt binder than required on the airport taxiway. The project, managed by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, was paid for with FAA grant funds under the Airport Improvement Program. Under the terms of the settlement, BTB and R&F Asphalt agreed to return to the government $3,605,629 each. BTB and R&F Asphalt each paid an initial payment of $500,000. BTB agreed to pay the remaining balance in equal annual payments of $776,407.25 over the next four years, and R&F Asphalt agreed to pay the remaining balance in equal annual payments of $155,281.45 every three months, over a period of five years until the outstanding balance is paid in full.