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Wisconsin Man Sentenced in DBE Fraud Scheme

On September 15, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin convicted and sentenced Nicolas Rivecca to 36 months of probation; 1,200 hours of community service to assist disadvantaged individuals, groups, and disabled veterans; and a $100 special assessment. In March 2018, Rivecca entered into an agreement with the Government and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. In September 2018, he agreed to pay $629,732—including $319,343.25 designated as restitution—to resolve allegations that he violated the False Claims Act by defrauding DOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.
Rivecca was the former owner of Sonag Ready Mix, a Milwaukee-based concrete contractor. He and his co-conspirators operated construction companies with straw owners who qualified as disadvantaged individuals or service-disabled veterans but did not actually control the companies. The scheme enabled the co-conspirators to fraudulently obtain DBE certification and collect more than $200 million in Government-funded contracts that they were not entitled to receive.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the FBI, Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the OIGs at the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, Small Business Administration, and General Services Administration.