U.S. Attorney’s Office recovers $4.25 million from asphalt contractor
Misled government about materials used to pave roads
Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today a civil settlement with Dave O’Mara Contractor, Inc. (“DOCI”), an asphalt contractor based in Southern Indiana. The settlement will result in a total payment of $4.25 million to the United States of America.
“The safety and security of the citizens of Indiana are paramount to this office.” Minkler stated. To risk the safety of the motoring public for the sake of saving money cannot be tolerated. This recovery sends the message that contractors must comply with various applicable state and federal regulations when billing the United States Government, or they will face the consequences of their choices.”
The settlement resolves allegations that DOCI misrepresented the materials that it used to pave a number of roads and highways throughout Central and Southern Indiana, which were funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration. Specifically, the government alleges that DOCI represented that it was including steel slag in its asphalt mixture when it was not. According to the government, this created the false impression that the roads that DOCI provided contained enough binder, or “glue,” to ensure that they would not prematurely deteriorate.
“It is important to ensure that taxpayers get what they pay for so that the quality of products used in highway transportation projects is not compromised,” stated Andrea M. Kropf, Regional Special Agent-In-Charge, United States Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. “Today’s settlement sends a message that putting the safety of the traveling public at risk for personal gain is an unacceptable way of conducting business.”
According to Rachana Fischer, the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the matter, the settlement followed a multi-year investigation by the United States Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General in coordination with the United States Attorney’s Office and the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.. The Indiana Department of Transportation provided substantial assistance to the United States in its investigation.
The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This investigation demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to enforce the collection of criminal and civil debts owed to the United States to maximize recoveries to the United States Treasury and to victims of crime. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 6.4.