The Justice Department Friday sued a Gloucester County construction company for allegedly defrauding the United States by falsely claiming credit for using disadvantaged business entities, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
According to a statement released by federal officials, C. Abbonizio Contractors Inc., a company based in Sewell, New Jersey, allegedly defrauded the government by claiming to use disadvantaged entities when those entities were not used to perform work.
Companies performing federally funded work on New Jersey transportation projects sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) are required to utilize disadvantaged business entities (DBE) for a specified percentage of the work. They are required to certify their use of these entities officials said in the statement.
**According to the complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court:**
Abbonizio Contractors obtained a $39 million subcontract from PKF Mark III, the prime contractor on the Direct Connection Project, a federally funded reconfiguration of the interchanges of Routes I-295, I-76, and Route 42 in Camden County. P
KF Mark III was required to perform 15 percent of the work with DBE contractors, and Abbonizio Contractors assumed that requirement as part of its subcontract.
Abbonizio Contractors and its president, Peter Abbonizio, improperly claimed credit for using DBE to perform work on the project by reporting to PKF Mark III the use of DBE that did not perform work.
The scheme involved hiring DBE not to perform work, but merely to fraudulently invoice work as their own that was performed by other companies, in violation of the contract and federal regulations.
**IMAGE CREDIT:** Company's website