After an investigation spanning the past several years, one major New York contractor has avoided prosecution for multiple charges of fraud. In this recent case, the contractor was accused of white collar charges consisting of allegedly inflated bills on various New York City projects that potentially affected developers as well as taxpayers across the state. The contractor in question has contributed to the construction of a significant portion of the city.
In addition to the alleged fraudulent bills, the contractor was also accused of filtering projects through minority-owned firms -- a government requirement for contractors -- only to pass them back to their own employees rather than giving them over to the minority-owned firms to handle.
These charges would have potentially affected several of the company's executives and other employees had the charges moved forward. In the past, the contractor has avoided other potential charges, and some say deals were made to avoid the lay-offs of innocent workers not involved in any alleged scheme.
The New York contractor acknowledged some wrongdoing in response to these white collar charges, but will face $50 million in fines and has additionally agreed to alter business practices. It is also said that one executive of the company pleaded guilty to some conspiracy charges in the case.
The investigation into this alleged fraud apparently involved officials going through significant amounts of documents and paperwork that are said to have revealed the existence of fraudulent bills and overtime payments made by the contractor. However, such significant amounts of paperwork may be difficult to effectively investigate. It is also not said under what circumstances the "whistleblower" that brought attention to the alleged fraud gained the information claimed to reveal fraud amongst the company.
This case serves as a reminder that a person does not have to wait until official charges are filed or a criminal trial begins to employ the services of an attorney. Even when someone, or a group of individuals, is only under investigation on suspicion of criminal offenses, they can consult with a legal professional to be advised of their legal rights and see that their case is resolved in a fair manner. The hope is that the contractor consulted with their attorney before deciding to admit wrongdoing, which halted the prosecution.
Source: New York Daily News, "Huge contractor Bovis Lend Lease hit with fraud charges for overbilling on jobs around city," John Marzulli and Greg B. Smith, April 24, 2012