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FHWA Suspends Massachusetts-Based DBE Contractor

On August 17, 2023, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) suspended Melo’s Rodbusters, Inc., from participating in all federally funded procurement and non-procurement programs.
On April 5, 2023, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts entered into a civil settlement agreement with Walsh Construction Company and Melo's. Walsh and Melo's agreed to pay $1.24 million collectively to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claim Act when they participated in a fraudulent scheme to take advantage of 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, an Illinois Corporation, is a general contracting and construction management firm. Melo's is a Massachusetts corporation and, at the time of the contract, a certified DBE that subcontracted with Walsh on the project to furnish and install rebar.
As part of the settlement agreement, Walsh admitted that it assisted with certain work functions for Melo's and another DBE on the project that is not party to the settlement, including assisting with the selection of suppliers and participating in price discussion and negotiation. As part of its own settlement agreement, Melo's admitted that Walsh performed these functions when Melo’s should have performed them. Melo's also admitted to providing inaccurate information in response to a MassDOT inquiry regarding Melo's price negotiation with suppliers. Walsh agreed to pay $1,099,000 and Melo's agreed to pay $146,102 to resolve the Government's investigation.
Note: A suspension or debarment frequently covers a specific period of time. Please consult the System for Award Management to determine whether a company or individual is currently suspended or debarred.