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Two Companies Agree to Pay $1.2 Million to Resolve DBE Fraud Allegations

On April 5, 2023, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts entered into a civil settlement with Walsh Construction Company and Melo's Rodbusters, Inc. Walsh and Melo’s agreed to pay nearly $1.1 million and $146,102, respectively, to resolve False Claims Act allegations that they participated in a scheme designed to defraud the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program in connection with their work on the federally funded Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project.
In 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) awarded Walsh and its joint venture partner to be the prime contractor for the Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project. Walsh, a general contracting and construction management firm, subcontracted with Melo’s, a certified DBE, to furnish and install rebar.
As part of the settlement agreement, Walsh admitted that it assisted with certain work functions for Melo's and for another DBE on the project that is not party to the settlement, including selecting suppliers and participating in price discussion and negotiation. As part of its own settlement agreement, Melo's admitted that Walsh performed these functions even though they should have been performed by Melo's. Melo's also admitted to providing inaccurate information in response to a MassDOT inquiry regarding Melo's price negotiation with suppliers.