April 12, 2018
FHWA Debars 10 Individuals Involved in Corruption Scheme at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
On March 15 and April 12, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) debarred 10 individuals for their roles in a widespread corruption and bribery scheme that affected 27 federally funded maintenance and construction contracts in Pennsylvania—specifically, David Betzner, John Cavanaugh, Joseph DeSimone, Frank DiMichele, Brandon Grosso, John Laspada, Christopher Lauch, Alex Morrone, Generoso Palmiere, and William Rossetti Jr. In 2015 and 2016, the 10 individuals were sentenced in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Norristown.
The investigation found that Alex Morrone, former permits manager, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and William Rosetti, former permit manager for Philadelphia County, demanded kickbacks from project inspectors, who were paid more than $500,000 through false payroll and invoice submissions. The inspectors falsified documents to inflate overtime income and mileage reimbursements and then kicked money back to the PennDOT managers. They also performed home improvement services for PennDOT officials and falsified time, attendance, and payroll records to indicate they were performing inspection duties. In addition, the investigation found that the scheme jeopardized safety. Hired to protect the public and Pennsylvania’s highway infrastructure, the inspectors were often absent from job sites and thus unable to perform inspections.
Note: Exclusion actions (suspensions and debarments) are frequently for a specific period of time, and the System for Award Management (Sam.gov) should be consulted to find whether a company is currently excluded.