Construction Fraud - I
January 22, 2010
Construction. Bribes. Big-time money payoffs. Special Agent Mike Ponzo of the FBI’s Birmingham, Alabama Division investigated this Huntsville caper.
Mr. Schiff: Construction. Bribes. Big-time money payoffs. Special Agent Mike Ponzo of the FBI’s Birmingham, Alabama Division investigated this Huntsville caper.
Mr. Ponzo: "There were nine totaling approximately $45,000 in specific payoffs.”
Mr. Schiff: The payoffs were videotaped. Ponzo says a contractor cooperated with the FBI and was in contact with the fraudulent program manager of a condo project.
Mr. Ponzo: "Approximately $75,000 worth of payments went to the main subject’s brother-in-law, and another $510,000 went to a side business that the main subject maintained in northern Florida.”
Mr. Schiff: Ponzo says the project manager directed the cooperating contractor to inflate bids.
Mr. Ponzo: "$2.2 million more than it would have actually cost him to actually refinish the condominiums.”
Mr. Schiff: The manager admitted to mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and has to pay restitution of nearly $511,000 and forfeit almost $466,000 . I’m Neal Schiff of the Bureau, and that’s the FBI’s Closed Case of the Week.
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