January 22, 2018
Pennsylvania Man and Company Plead Guilty to Fraud on FHWA Bridge Contract
On January 22, 2018, Andrew Manganas, former owner of Panthera Painting, Inc. (Panthera), and Panthera pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to wire fraud, theft from an employee benefit plan, and Clean Water Act violations. Manganas and Panthera were previously charged in a 46-count indictment related to a prevailing wage payroll scheme and environmental crimes on the federally funded George Wade Bridge project in Harrisburg. This was part of a $42 million Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) rehabilitation project administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
The investigation disclosed that Manganas and Panthera submitted false certified payroll reports to PennDOT on a $10 million subcontract for blasting, resurfacing, and painting of the structural steel on the bridge project. The investigation further disclosed that Manganas and Panthera embezzled money from benefit and pension plans by engaging in a “side payroll” scheme where workers received two checks; one for regular hours and a separate “per diem” check. The per diem checks were for overtime hours worked and did not include required contributions to the workers’ union welfare benefits and individual employees’ pension plans. Additionally, the investigation disclosed that Manganas and Panthera knowingly discharged pollutants into the Susquehanna River in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act and its regulations.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the U.S. Department of Labor OIG, Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, and the FBI. FHWA and PennDOT provided substantial assistance with the investigation.