August 23, 2019
New Jersey-based Contractor Debarred by FHWA
On August 23, 2019, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) debarred Sanzo, Ltd., and its owner/operator, Carol Sanzo, from participating in federally funded procurement and nonprocurement programs for a period of 3 years. On July 6, 2016, in U.S. District Court, Newark, New Jersey, Sanzo was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) pass-through fraud scheme.
Between approximately 2008 and 2012, Sanzo routinely circumvented DBE program requirements by causing contract payments from prime contractors to be routed through Sanzo, Ltd.—a certified as a DBE fuel supplier—retaining kickbacks for herself, and remitting the remainder to non-DBE subcontractors. Sanzo also falsely represented that Sanzo, Ltd. supplied fuel on the Willis Avenue Bridge Project, knowing that a non-DBE fuel supplier actually provided those services. The Willis Avenue Bridge Project was funded by FHWA and administered by New York City DOT. The value of Sanzo, Ltd.’s purported DBE subcontract on the project was approximately $6 million.
DOT-OIG investigated this case with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey-OIG. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.
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 determine whether a party is currently excluded.