Five of the six men charged with fraud in relation to concrete used in Boston’s Big Dig project pleaded innocent in U.S. District Court on Thursday, May 12.
The sixth man had already entered an innocent plea at a separate arraignment the previous week.
The Associated Press reported that the men are all current or former employees of Aggregate Industries NE Inc. – the largest concrete and asphalt supplier in New England – and have been charged with recycling concrete that was too old or that had been rejected by inspectors and had double-billed for some of the loads.
The 135-count indictment against the men alleges that at least 5,000 of the 135,000 truckloads of concrete bought from the company did not meet specifications. It also includes charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, conspiracy to make false statements in a federal highway project, conspiracy to defraud the government and mail fraud.
Officially called the Central Artery and Third Harbor Tunnel Project, the $14.6 billion Big Dig lowered Interstate 93 to tunnels below downtown Boston and connected the Massachusetts Turnpike to Logan Airport. Some have estimated that cost overruns on the project total more than $2 billion.