November 9, 2016
Pennsylvania Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bid-Rigging Charge
On November 9, 2016, Christopher Czop, president of Czop/Specter Inc., pleaded guilty to one felony count of bid-rigging in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Norristown. In April 2015, a State criminal complaint was filed charging Czop with fraud related to an ongoing corruption and fraud scheme. The State grand jury found that Czop’s company fraudulently obtained and executed several consultant inspection contracts by cultivating a relationship with an assistant district engineer at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Czop/Specter also directly profited from overbilling and fraud perpetrated by its employees through the hours and mileage they submitted in connection with the contracts.
In December 2014, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office filed criminal complaints charging 10 individuals with widespread corruption and bribery in a related scheme that affected 27 federally funded maintenance and construction contracts in Pennsylvania. Czop/Specter employed four of the previously charged inspectors. That followed the arrest 4 months earlier of PennDOT contractor Thanh Nguyen for allegedly stealing at least $3.6 million by submitting false invoices to PennDOT. Nguyen also allegedly bribed a Czop/Specter inspector, Robert Slamon, so he would ignore Nguyen’s illegal activity.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.