Washington State Contractor Suspended by FHWA Related to DBE Fraud Allegations
On December 3, 2015, the Federal Highway Administration suspended Tri-State Construction of Bellevue, Washington, based on a civil settlement agreement Tri State previously entered into with the U.S. Government. In June 2015, Tri-State agreed to pay $142,440 to settle allegations that false claims for payment were submitted on the federally-funded I-5 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane project in Tacoma, Washington. Tri-State does not admit any misconduct.
This investigation found that Tri-State bought and used a stormwater treatment system, known as a chitosan, on the I-5 project. However, they submitted invoices to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) representing that they were renting the treatment system from OMA Construction, a disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE). They submitted reports to the WSDOT certifying that the amounts on the rental invoices were eligible for DBE credit on the project. The United States alleges that these claims were false since Tri-State actually owned and operated the stormwater treatment system on the project, not OMA Construction.
We conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Note: Exclusion actions (suspensions and debarments) are frequently for a specific period of time and the System for Award Management "Sam.gov" should be consulted to find whether a company is currently excluded.