Syracuse residents are likely aware of the recent construction projects going on in New York City, such as the construction of 3 World Trade Center. Now, several of the largest construction companies behind these public works projects are facing federal crime investigations. After a billing fraud incident with Bovis Lend Lease, federal prosecutors have been looking into the billing practices in other construction companies.
Turner, Plaza, Skanska and Tishman construction companies are said to be involved in the probe. The investigation itself involves contracts running into the billions of dollars. It is alleged that the fraudulent billing concerned projects at the city, state and federal levels.
The alleged billing practices, referred to as "8 and 2," are said by some companies to be a standard practice in the industry. It is claimed that companies, as a matter of course, add two hours of overtime to each foreman's eight hour shift even though those charges were allegedly false. Construction companies want to ensure their workers get these projects done and done in a timely manner. It's argued that the problems aren't in over-billing but in potential issues with procedures and compliance.
Bovis Lend Lease avoided prosecution with a $56 million payout, and these other companies under investigation may confront similar issues. However, corruption in one company, whether in Syracuse or elsewhere in New York, doesn't necessarily mean that corruption exists in another. As with any allegations of a federal crime, each company is due a full and fair investigation based upon proven facts as opposed to speculation about industry practices.
Source: WNYC, "City's Construction Giants Face Criminal Probe for Billing Fraud," Bob Hennelly, July 30, 2012