State Contractor Indicted for Fraud
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Nathaniel P. Lorenz, age 46, of Holley, New York, was arraigned today on charges that he submitted fake invoices to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) in order to conceal that he was not buying the materials needed to perform contracts for which his company was ultimately paid more than $1 million.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; Todd A. Damiani, Special Agent in Charge of the New England Regional Office of the United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General (USDOT-OIG); New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott; and Robert L. Keihm, Chief Investigator for the NYSDOT Investigations Bureau.
Lorenz is charged with 8 counts of wire fraud and 1 count of mail fraud. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
According to the indictment, Lorenz’s company, ACME Powerwashing Inc. (ACME) of Holley, New York, contracted with NYSDOT in 2015 and 2016 to clean and seal the road portions of bridges, known as concrete bridge decks. The work involved powerwashing bridge decks with water and then sealing them with a chemical that makes the concrete more resistant to penetration by water, chlorides and waterborne contaminants, which might cause the deterioration of the bridge deck. The Federal Highway Administration, part of the United States Department of Transportation, provided most of the money for these contracts.
Each of these contracts required ACME to purchase a certain amount of sealing chemical, based on how many square feet of concrete bridge deck was sealed. According to the indictment, on 3 contracts in 2015 and 2016, Lorenz submitted fraudulent invoices to NYSDOT in order to conceal that he was not buying the amount of the sealing chemical required by the contracts. Lorenz falsely claimed that he was buying sealing chemicals from S.E. Brett, Inc., another company that he owned that does not sell anything.
On these 3 contracts alone, NYSDOT paid ACME a total of $1,139,119.74 for bridge sealing work, and an additional $759,002.64 for bridge washing and other work. ACME has been a NYSDOT contractor since 2010.
Lorenz appeared today in Albany before United States Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel, and was released pending a trial scheduled before Senior United States District Judge Norman A. Mordue in Syracuse. If convicted, Lorenz faces up to 20 years in prison, a maximum $250,000 fine, and up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release. He may also be ordered to pay restitution to one or more government agencies. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
This case is being investigated by USDOT-OIG, NYSDOT’s Investigations Bureau, and the Office of the New York State Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.