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New Jersey DBE Owner Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy in Connection With an Illegal DBE Pass-Through Scheme

On July 6, 2016, Carol Sanzo pleaded guilty to an information charging her with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She owns and operates Sanzo Ltd., a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) supplier based in Cranford, NJ.
Between approximately 2008 and 2012, Sanzo routinely circumvented DBE program requirements by causing contract payments from prime contractors to be routed through her company, retaining a “kickback” for herself, and remitting the remainder to non-DBE subcontractors. Sanzo falsely represented that Sanzo Ltd. supplied fuel on the Willis Avenue Bridge Project, knowing that a non-DBE fuel supplier actually provided those services. The Willis Avenue Bridge Project was funded by the Federal Highway Administration and administered by the New York City DOT. The value of Sanzo Ltd.’s purported DBE subcontract on the project was approximately $6 million.
DOT-OIG is investigating this case jointly with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey OIG.