December 3, 2020
Minnesota Man Who Owned Wisconsin Company Sentenced in DBE Fraud Scheme
On December 3, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin convicted and sentenced Jorge Lopez and his company, Nuvo Construction. Lopez was sentenced to 24 months of probation and a $100 special assessment. Nuvo was sentenced to a forfeiture of $300,000 and a $400.00 special assessment.
On April 16, 2018, Lopez entered into an agreement and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. On June 4, 2019, Nuvo entered into an agreement and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
The investigation revealed a scheme that involved Nuvo, operating under Lopez as a straw owner who qualified as a disadvantaged individual but did not control the company. The participants used fraudulent DBE certifications to obtain over $200 million in Government-funded contracts.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the Department of Veterans Affairs-OIG, the Small Business Administration-OIG, the General Services Administration-OIG, and the Department of Defense-OIG.