Former Pennsylvania Transit Director Debarred for his Role in Grant Fraud Scheme
On April 5, 2016, FTA debarred Stanley Strelish, the former Executive Director of Luzerne County Transportation Authority (LCTA), for a period of 3 years related to his plea and State conviction for tampering with public records. Strelish admitted to submitting false ridership data to PennDOT in order to obtain increased grant monies. Strelish instructed LCTA employees to record senior citizen trips that did not occur. PennDOT estimated that LCTA inflated the number of free senior citizen bus trips it provided by approximately 3 million trips between 2005 and 2011.
In December 2015, the FTA suspended Strelish and Robb Alan Henderson, LCTA’s former Operations Manager. In June 2014, the Pennsylvania State Attorney General’s Office filed criminal complaints in Royalton, PA, charging Strelish and Henderson with falsely inflating senior citizen bus ridership data. In addition, the United States Attorney’s Office requested that DOT-OIG review FTA data to determine if Federal dollars were affected by the scheme. FTA provided grant funds to LCTA to develop and maintain public transportation systems. After an extensive review of LCTA, FTA, and National Transit Database documents, the investigation revealed that only State funds were affected by this scheme.
On October 8, 2015, Strelish pleaded guilty to tampering with public records and was sentenced to 5 years of probation, a $5,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service. The Henderson State criminal case is pending. PennDOT has reclaimed a total of $3,158,825 from LCTA.
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.