Texas Contractor and Owner Agree to a Civil Settlement for Alleged False Claims Act Violations
On October 20, 2021, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas entered into a civil settlement agreement with Muniz Concrete and Contracting Inc. (Muniz CC) and its owner, Jose Juan Muniz. Muniz agreed to pay $188,879.59 to resolve civil False Claims Act allegations. According to the settlement agreement, a qui tam complaint filed against Muniz and Muniz CC alleged they falsely certified that they met the personal net worth requirements of DOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program to obtain federally assisted public transit projects. The United States alleged that beginning no later than 2017, Muniz CC did not qualify for DBE status because Muniz’s personal net worth exceeded $1.32 million. Muniz made several false certifications concerning his net worth so that Muniz CC could continue participating in the DBE program and obtain federally assisted DBE contracts awarded by the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city of Austin, Texas.
The settlement agreement represents neither an admission of liability by Muniz CC and Muniz nor a concession by the United States that its claims are not well founded.