Dave O’Mara Contractor Inc. (DOCI), an Indiana-based asphalt contractor, has agreed to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by misrepresenting to the government the materials that it was using to pave federally-funded roads in the state of Indiana, the Department of Justice announced today. Under the settlement agreement, DOCI has agreed to pay over $4.25 million over a period of four years.
“Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to hold accountable companies that provide false information to obtain government contracts,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Misrepresenting the materials that will be used to pave federally-funded roads not only defrauds the government but potentially endangers the lives of motorists.”
“The safety and security of the citizens of Indiana are paramount to this office,” stated Josh Minkler, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “To risk the safety of the motoring public for the sake of saving money cannot be tolerated. This recovery sends the message that contractors must comply with various applicable state and federal regulations when billing the U.S. Government, or they will face the consequences of their choices.”
“It is important to ensure that taxpayers get what they pay for so that the quality of products used in highway transportation projects is not compromised,” stated Andrea M. Kropf, Regional Special Agent-In-Charge, U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. “Today’s settlement sends a message that putting the safety of the travelling public at risk for personal gain is an unacceptable way of conducting business.”
The settlement resolved allegations that in applying for government contracts, DOCI falsely represented the materials it would use to pave roads that are funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration. Specifically, the government alleged that DOCI claimed that its hot mix asphalt mixture contained a sufficient amount of binder or glue to hold the mix together when, in fact, DOCI frequently failed to meet the minimal levels of binder required to pave the roads. DOCI thereby allegedly created the false impression that its mixture met the contract requirements and that the roads would last a reasonable period of time before they would develop cracks and become unsafe for driving.
The settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, and the Chicago Office of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation. The U.S. Government also received significant assistance in this matter from Indiana’s Department of Transportation.
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.