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Investigations

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Two Pennsylvania Consultant Inspectors Sentenced in a $1.2 Million Fraud Case

On December 15 and 17, 2015, Joseph Desimone and John Laspada, former PennDOT consultant inspectors, pleaded guilty and were sentenced in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Norristown, PA. Their convictions were related to a widespread$1.2 million fraud, corruption, and bribery scheme that affected 27 federally funded construction and maintenance contracts in Pennsylvania. DeSimone and Laspada admitted that they provided kickbacks to a PennDOT manager who overlooked fraudulent overbillings related to project inspections they failed to complete.  

The Court sentenced Desimone to 60 months’ probation and ordered him to pay $35,000 in restitution.  Laspada received 60 months’ probation and was ordered to pay $53,802 in restitution.   

In April 2015, the Pennsylvania Attorney General filed a State criminal complaint charging Christopher Czop, president of Czop Specter, Inc.—a consultant inspection firm—with illegally securing more than $1 million in profits by rigging contract bids and profiting from his employees who fraudulently inflated billable hours and mileage claims to PennDOT. In December 2014, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office filed additional criminal complaints that charged 10 individuals, including DeSimone and Laspada, with widespread fraud, corruption and bribery. That followed criminal charges four months earlier of PennDOT contractor Thanh Nguyen, who allegedly stole $3.6 million through a false invoice and bribery scheme.

We are working this ongoing investigation jointly with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.