New Jersey Company to Pay $400,000 to Settle False Claims Allegations
NEWARK, N.J. – A construction contracting company and the company’s president have agreed to collectively pay $400,000 to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by circumventing small business set aside requirements in a federally funded contract U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
The settlement announced today resolves allegations that C. Abbonizio Contractors Inc. and the company’s president, Peter Abbonizio, violated small business set aside requirements that they use certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) to perform work on the contract.
The allegations were that the defendants violated the FCA by falsely representing that DBE companies Sanzo Ltd. (Sanzo) and Multifacet LLC (Multifacet) were performing work on the Direct Connection Project, a federally funded New Jersey Department of Transportation project to provide infrastructure improvements to the intersection of Routes I-295, I-76, and Route 42 in Camden County, New Jersey. According to the allegations, Sanzo and Multifacet were not actually performing work, but instead were simply billing C. Abbonizio Contractors for work performed by other vendors on the project, along with a mark-up for their participation. The settlement resolves the complaint filed on May 29, 2020, against C. Abbonizio Contractors Inc. and Peter Abbonizio. Under the terms of the settlement, C. Abbonizio Contractors will pay $375,000, and Peter Abbonizio will pay $25,000.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, Northeastern Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher Scharf, and special agents of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of John Gay, with the investigation leading to the settlement.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark C. Orlowski of the U.S. Attorney’s Healthcare Fraud Unit in Newark.
The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.