June 17, 2016
Former Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Owner Convicted of Fraud by a Federal Jury
On June 17, 2016, Elizabeth Perino was convicted after a jury trial in U.S. District Court, Chicago, IL, related to her role in a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) fraud scheme. Perino was the former owner of Perdel Contracting Company (Perdel), which specialized in concrete and carpentry work and was certified as a DBE in the city of Chicago.
The jury found Perino guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Our investigation revealed that Perino, along with a coconspirator, agreed to have Perdel act as a pass-through DBE, by making it falsely appear as though Perdel would provide labor and equipment on a multimillion dollar project at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (O’Hare).
Perino falsified various documents in order to disguise the fact that Perdel did not meet the DBE requirements, and thus the prime contractor did not either. Perdel did not perform any labor or provide any equipment. As part of the scheme, Perdel was to purchase equipment from the prime contractor to make it appear as if they had the proper equipment to perform the work. At the conclusion of the project, Perdel would sell the equipment back to the prime contractor. Further, all workers and equipment were to be provided by the prime contractor and loaned to Perdel to make it appear that Perdel actually completed the contracted work.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.