August 14, 2019
Pennsylvania Painting Contractor Sentenced to Prison for Fraud on Federally Funded Bridge Project
On August 14, 2019, Panthera Painting, Inc. and its former owner, Andrew Manganas, were sentenced in U.S. District Court, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for their roles in a fraudulent prevailing wage payroll scheme and violations of the Clean Water Act. Manganas was sentenced to 46 months in prison, 24 months of supervised release, a $20,000 fine, and a $500 special assessment. Panthera was sentenced to 60 months of probation, a $200,000 fine, and a $2,000 special assessment. Both Manganas and Panthera had pleaded guilty in January 2018, to wire fraud, theft from an employee benefit plan, and Clean Water Act violations on the federally funded George Wade Bridge project in Harrisburg. This project 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 structural steel on the bridge project. Manganas and Panthera also embezzled money set for benefit and pension plans by engaging in a “side payroll” scheme in which workers received paychecks for regular hours worked and separate per diem checks. The per diem checks were for overtime hours worked without the required contributions to the workers’ union welfare benefits and individual employees’ pension plans. Manganas and Panthera also knowingly discharged pollutants into the Susquehanna River in violation of the Federal Clean Water Act.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Department of Labor OIG, the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, and the FBI. FHWA and PennDOT provided substantial assistance with the investigation.