November 29, 2021
Vermont Contractor Agrees to Second Civil Settlement for False Claims Act Violations
On November 29, 2021, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Vermont entered into a second civil settlement agreement with J.A. McDonald (JAM), a Vermont-based corporation. JAM agreed to pay $637,500 to resolve civil allegations under the False Claims Act. It is alleged that JAM employees knowingly caused the State of Vermont to present false claims to the United States in connection with the federally-funded construction of several bridges. JAM also entered into a compliance agreement with FHWA for a period of 3 years. Between approximately 2008 and 2010, JAM employees materially altered certain bridge components by cutting or burning multiple sections of reinforcing steel out of the reinforced-concrete substructures that support the bridges. The employees took steps to conceal these alterations from the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). The State of Vermont and the United States contend that due to JAM’s misconduct, VTrans unwittingly paid JAM for deficient bridgework. The settlement agreement was neither an admission of liability by JAM nor the parties’ concessions that their claims were not well founded.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with FHWA, VTrans, and the Vermont Attorney General's Office.