Two cases allege misuse of federal transportation funds

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 12/20/2013

U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania and Tennessee are hearing separate cases that allege misuse of federal transportation funds. In the Tennessee case, a contractor allegedly hatched a scheme to obtain $900,000 by falsifying documents related to buying property as right of way.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General reported that contractor Michael Young was indicted Dec. 2 in Nashville and charged with theft of federal funds.

“It is alleged Young executed a scheme to obtain over $900,000 from TDOT by falsely representing to TDOT he would procure right of way properties with the proceeds, and instead used the money to manage other personal properties and financial obligations,” the Office of Inspector General wrote.

In the second case, the owner of a Pennsylvania company is charged with falsifying engineering documents on federally funded highway construction projects.

Prosecutors say Matthew Williams, former owner of Clear Span Construction Projects of Latrobe, Pa., submitted more than 500 falsified documents on more than 75 federal and state highway projects in 2013.

“It is alleged that Williams, on multiple occasions and without authorization, forged or affixed the seal and signature of unwitting professional engineers on bridge plans and transmitted these engineering documents to prime contractors on federally funded highway construction projects,” the Office of Inspector General stated on its website.

Williams was indicted Dec. 9 in Pittsburgh. The OIG’s office says Clear Span settled a civil case on Aug. 21 and agreed to pay a $50,000 fine.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Federal Highway Administration are assisting prosecutors in the Williams case.

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