Owner of Hudson County Contracting Company Admits Rigging Selection Process for Union City Projects
NEWARK, NJ—The owner of a Guttenberg, New Jersey, contracting company today admitted rigging the selection process for projects run by the Union City Community Development Agency (UCCDA), causing losses of at least $120,000, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Leovaldo Fundora, 53, of Guttenberg, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of embezzling, stealing, purloining, and converting to his own use and the use of another, money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
According to documents in this case and statements made in court:
The UCCDA receives funding from HUD under a federal block grant that provides money for home improvement, sidewalk replacement and other projects. Between May 2007 and September 2011, Fundora owned Falcon Remodeling Inc., a general contracting company.
Fundora colluded with two UCCDA inspectors and two other contractors to attain HUD grant funds by having the contractors complete phony proposals with prices higher than those submitted by Falcon. Fundora then submitted these phony proposals and Falcon’s proposals to the UCCDA in order to improperly obtain home improvement projects and sidewalk replacement projects.
On two occasions in June 2010, Fundora submitted phony proposals from the other two contractors pricing sidewalk replacement projects at Kerrigan Avenue and 13th St. in Union City for $4,200. As a result, Falcon secured both projects for $3,900.
The charge to which Fundora pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for April 22, 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, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Luria and J Imbert of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.