March 24, 2016
FHWA Suspends Pennsylvania Company and Owner Based on Affiliation with Parties Previously Convicted of an $18.7 million DBE Fraud
On March 24, 2016, FHWA suspended Weber Steel Service and Associates, LLC (Weber Steel 2) and its owner Michael Weber. The suspensions were based on the sham transfer of assets from Carl M. Weber Steel Service (Weber Steel 1) and its owners Dennis Weber and Dale Weber, to Weber Steel 2 and its owner Michael Weber. FHWA found that Dennis Weber, Dale Weber and Weber Steel 1, who were previously convicted of DBE fraud, remained principals and controlled the money and assets of Weber Steel 2.
In June 2015, Dennis Weber, Dale Weber, Weber Steel 1, and Judy Noll were charged in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, PA, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud related to a complex scheme to defraud the USDOT disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program. The scheme ran for over 16 years and totaled almost $19 million. Weber Steel 1 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 1 utilized Karen to fraudulently obtain over $18.7 million from 224 federally funded bridge projects. Additionally, Noll, as President of Karen from 2002 to 2011, fraudulently obtained DBE subcontracts totaling $11.9 million from 133 federally funded bridge projects.
In October 2015, Dennis Weber, Dale Weber, Weber Steel 1, and Judy Noll each pleaded guilty to conspiracy and in February 2016, they were sentenced and ordered to pay over $1.3 million in restitution to FHWA. In August 2015, FHWA suspended Weber Steel 1, Karen, and their respective owners, Dennis Weber, Dale Weber, and Judy Noll.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the FBI and the US Department of Labor OIG.
Update: On September 23, 2016, FHWA lifted the suspensions of Weber Steel Service and Associates, LLC (Weber Steel 2) and its owner Michael Weber. FHWA determined that Michael Weber had taken sufficient steps to separate Weber Steel 2 from the influence of Dennis Weber, Dale Weber, and Weber Steel 1. Based on evidence provided, FHWA determined that Michael Weber has the capacity to operate Weber Steel 2 independently, and therefore the suspensions are no longer necessary to protect the interests of the Government.
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.