Contractor Admits Conspiring to Rig Selection Process for Union City Community Development Agency Projects
NEWARK, NJ—A Union City contractor today admitted conspiring to rig the contractor selection process for projects run by the Union City Community Development Agency (UCCDA), causing losses of at least $70,000, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Joseph Lado, 66, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of conspiring with agents of the UCCDA and a Jersey City, New Jersey, contractor to obtain money from the agency by fraud. Lado entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court. According to documents in this case and statements made in court:
Between June 2007 and September 2010, Lado owned Lado Construction in Union City. There were two individuals (Inspector one and Inspector two) at the UCCDA, a government agency that received funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under a federal block grant. The funding was used for home improvement projects and sidewalk replacement projects, among other things.
Lado conspired with another individual who owned a paving contracting company in Jersey City, New Jersey (the Contractor), Inspector one and Inspector two to rig the competitive process by submitting false and materially misleading proposals for contracts to perform sidewalk replacement and residential rehabilitation. The process was rigged to favor of certain contractors, including Lado Construction. Lado caused the Contractor to provide Lado with phony proposals from the Contractor’s company that were higher than Lado’s own proposals. He also caused the contractor to provide Lado with blank proposal forms from the Contractor’s company that Lado later completed with the help of another, listing amounts that were higher than Lado Construction’s proposals for the same work. Under both of those scenarios, Lado would then submit the Contractor’s phony higher-priced proposals and his own to the UCCDA in order to obtain projects, and ultimately, HUD grant funds, from the UCCDA for the completion of the projects. Lado would also, at the request of Inspector one and Inspector two, provide both inspectors with phony proposals for amounts higher than his competitors for projects that the inspectors had already decided to award to other contractors.
The conspiracy charge to which Lado pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Lado is scheduled to be sentenced on March 24, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; and special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Luria and Senior Litigation Counsel J Imbert of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.