June 11, 2015
Company and Owners Suspended by FHWA for Their Role in a $1.2 Million Corruption Scheme
On June 11, 2015 the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) suspended, pending debarment, Christopher Czop, Richard Czop, and Czop-Specter, Inc., for their role in a corruption scheme related to federally funded Pennsylvania highway construction projects.
In April 2015, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office filed a criminal complaint charging Christopher Czop, president and principal operating officer of Czop Specter, Inc., an engineering consulting firm, with various crimes. The complaint alleged that Czop secured more than $1 million in profits for his business through improper and illegal contracts with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). The complaint charged the company and individuals with corrupt organizations, theft by unlawful taking, conspiracy to commit theft, and bid rigging.
The complaint further alleged that Czop Specter, Inc. and a related minority business, sent more than $130,000 to an associate of a PennDOT official, and in turn, PennDOT awarded Czop four separate consultant contracts worth $10 million. Czop also allegedly turned a blind eye and profited from his employees fraudulently inflating billable hours and mileage claims submitted to PennDOT. As a result of Czop's alleged improper and illegal conduct, his company generated over $1 million in illicit profits.
Previously, in December 2014, state criminal complaints were filed charging ten individuals for their alleged roles in a widespread corruption, fraud and bribery scheme that affected 27 federally funded maintenance and construction contracts in Pennsylvania. Czop-Specter employed four of the inspectors previously charged pursuant to these state criminal complaints.
We are conducting this investigation with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.
Note: A suspension or debarment frequently covers a specific period of time. Please consult the System for Award Management to determine whether a company or individual is currently suspended or debarred.