Four Admit to Scheme to Obtain $18.7 Million in DBE Subcontracts From Over 220 Bridge Projects in Pennsylvania
On October 8, 2015, Dennis Weber, Dale Weber, Carl M. Weber Steel Service, Inc. (Weber Steel), and Judy Noll each pleaded guilty to conspiracy in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Previously in June 2015, they were charged with conspiracy related to a complex disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) fraud scheme that ran for over 16 years, totaled almost $19 million and involved hundreds of bridge projects throughout Pennsylvania.
Dennis Weber, President, and his brother Dale Weber, Vice-president of Weber Steel, a non-DBE bridge and highway construction contractor, admitted to engaging in a scheme to defraud the USDOT DBE program. Weber Steel set up Karen Construction, Inc. (Karen), a sham DBE owned by Judy Noll, in order to obtain lucrative DBE subcontracts throughout Pennsylvania. From 1995 to 2011, Dennis and Dale Weber and Weber Steel utilized Karen to fraudulently obtain over $18.7 million from 224 federally funded bridge projects. Additionally, Noll admitted that as President of Karen from 2002 to 2011, she fraudulently obtained DBE subcontracts totaling $11.9 million from 133 federally funded bridge projects.
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 construction employees. Noll created and submitted various false documents to PENNDOT and USDOT which misrepresented 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, disguised through phony invoicing to mask the transfer of funds from Karen. Noll however did not 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.