Contractor Admits Colluding On Bids For Grant Funds From City Of Bayonne
TRENTON, N.J. – A Hudson County, N.J., man today admitted his role in bid-rigging in order to fraudulently obtain U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant funds from the City of Bayonne, N.J., U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Leo Viguie, 38, of Bayonne, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of theft of government funds totaling $40,000.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Viguie was the owner of L.V. Renovations LLC, a general contracting company in Bayonne. The City of Bayonne Department of Community Development (CBDCD) was a government agency that received funds from the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development under a federal program that provided grants of up to $20,000 to low income families to rehabilitate their homes and to repair conditions that were considered to affect their health and safety, and their homes’ accessibility, energy efficiency or code compliance.
In September 2011, Viguie, as the owner of L.V. Renovations, LLC, caused another contractor to provide Viguie with a bid that was higher than his own for the purpose of obtaining HUD grant funds from the City of Bayonne. Viguie then submitted the other contractor’s bid along with his own to the CBDCD. As a result of Viguie colluding with the other contractor and submitting the two bids, Viguie wrongfully obtained $20,000 in HUD grant funds from the CBDCD on Sept. 29, 2011.
In December 2011, Viguie supplied another contractor with a bid on behalf of L.V. Renovations that was higher than the other contractor’s bid for the purpose of obtaining HUD grant funds from the City of Bayonne. The other contractor then submitted the two bids to the CBDCD. As a result of Viguie colluding with the other contractor who then submitted the two bids, the other contractor wrongfully obtained $20,000 in HUD grant funds from the CBDCD on Dec. 28, 2011.
The theft of government funds charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Dec. 4, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent In Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cary Rubenstein, and special agents of the IRS, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen in Newark, with the continuing investigation leading to the guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zahid N. Quraishi of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven G. Sanders of the Newark office.
Defense counsel: Genesis A. Peduto Esq., North Bergen, N.J.