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New Jersey Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Attempted Bribery of DBE Official

On October 16, 2017, Abboud Wali pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges for his role in an attempted scheme to bribe a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) specialist at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), one of five certifying agencies of the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program.
On August 22, 2017, Wali and his wife, Nazik Modawi, owners of Safe Rides, LLC (Safe Rides), were indicted in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, on conspiracy and bribery charges. The indictment alleged that between November 2016 and December 2016, Modawi gave a SEPTA DBE specialist an envelope containing $5,000 in cash for the purpose of expediting Safe Rides’ DBE application. Furthermore, the indictment alleged that on a separate occasion, Wali and Modawi provided an undercover agent posing as a SEPTA employee with an envelope containing $5,000 in cash, again to expedite their DBE application.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and SEPTA-OIG.