Four Charged in an $18.7 Million DBE Fraud Scheme Related to Over 220 Pennsylvania Bridge Projects
On June 16, 2015, Dennis Weber, Dale Weber, Carl M. Weber Steel Service, Inc. (Weber Steel), and Judy Noll were charged by Information in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud related to a complex Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) fraud scheme that ran for over 16 years and totaled almost $19 million.
Dennis Weber, President, and his brother Dale Weber, Vice-president of Weber Steel, a bridge and highway construction contractor located in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud the USDOT DBE program. Since Weber Steel was not a certified DBE, they set up Karen Construction, Inc. (Karen), a sham DBE owned by Judy Noll in order to obtain lucrative DBE subcontracts throughout Pennsylvania. From April 1995 through November 2011, Dennis and Dale Weber and Weber Steel utilized Karen, posing as a legitimate DBE, to obtain over $18.7 million from 224 federally funded projects. Additionally, from January 2002 through October 2011, Noll, as President of Karen, fraudulently obtained DBE subcontracts totaling $11.9 million from 133 federally funded projects.
The investigation revealed that the Webers and Noll utilized a variety of tactics to conceal the scheme from USDOT and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) officials. It was concealed that Dennis Weber was in charge of Karen's sales, marketing, project selection, and price estimating, and Dale Weber was in charge of Karen's purchasing, project supervision, and hiring. Although Karen was required to be an independent business under the DBE program, Karen and Weber Steel shared a computer network, office space, equipment, fuel, materials, an office manager and a labor pool of construction employees. Noll created and submitted false reports, certifications, invoices and correspondence which misrepresented to PennDOT and USDOT that Karen was in compliance with the DBE certification requirements.
Dennis and Dale Weber directed that profits from Karen be shared with them in year-end bonuses that were disguised through phony invoicing to mask the transfer of funds from Karen to Weber Steel. Noll however did not receive any bonuses from Weber Steel or otherwise share in the profits of Weber Steel.
We are conducting this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.