FTA Debars FDOT Employee’s Spouse and His Business After Federal Program Theft
On August 13, 2018, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) debarred Alejo Tronco-Diaz and his company, Ministerio A Gran Voz De Trompeta Campus, Inc. (Ministerio), for 3 years.
Ministerio was owned and operated by Tronco-Diaz and his wife, Tracy Tronco, a former transit coordinator and passenger operations specialist with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The couple owned Ebenezer Church (Ebenezer) and Ministerio, which together received $250,000 in FTA grants, awarded via FDOT, for providing transportation to low-income, disabled, and elderly individuals.
In November 2017, Tronco pleaded guilty to using her authority as an FDOT employee to bypass the grant-award process to receive grants for Ministerio and Ebenezer. She and Tronco-Diaz submitted checks to FDOT indicating that they had paid for real property, services, and materials. However, the checks did not clear, and Tronco and Tronco-Diaz never actually procured the property, services, and materials. They also falsely represented to FDOT that they had used grant funds to acquire vehicles to provide transportation services, but the vehicles were for their personal use, and that they had incurred expenses for the vehicles’ preventative maintenance and repair.
Tronco-Diaz, and Tronco were both convicted in U.S. District Court, Tampa, Florida for their role in a conspiracy to commit Federal program theft by using FTA grants for their own personal gain. On August 7, 2018, Tronco was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, and on August 15, 2018, Tronco-Diaz was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Tampa, Florida, to 12 months and 1 day in Federal prison. Both individuals were ordered to jointly pay $295,891.65 in restitution, and forfeit property with a maximum value of $373,602.42.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and FDOT-OIG, and with FTA’s assistance.
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 out whether a company is currently excluded.