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Press Release

Construction Company President Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For 25-Year Fraud On The U.S. Government

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Sina Moayedi, the Owner of Montage, Inc., Fraudulently Induced U.S. Government Agencies to Pay His Company More Than $125 Million and Also Paid Bribes to a Government Insider

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that SINA MOAYEDI, the owner of a construction company, Montage, Inc., was sentenced today to 10 years in prison, stemming from his 25-year fraud on the United States Government.  MOAYEDI pled guilty in April 2023 to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official, and aggravated identity theft.  MOAYEDI’s sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who also presided over his guilty plea.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “From 1995 until 2021, Sina Moayedi defrauded the U.S. Government and various of its agencies through a sprawling, sophisticated scheme.  Moayedi lied repeatedly about his company’s ownership and qualifications, including by claiming that it was woman-owned and Hispanic-owned; he lied to obtain a Top-Secret national security clearance; and he repeatedly paid bribes to a State Department employee to illegally obtain inside information.  In total, Moayedi’s company fraudulently obtained more than 25 government contracts worth more than $125 million.  Even after he was arrested in this case, Moayedi continued to commit crime, destroying electronic evidence of his frauds.  For his brazen fraud on the federal government, Moayedi has now been sentenced to prison.”

According to court filings and statements made in Manhattan federal court:

 In 1986, MOAYEDI founded Montage, Inc., a U.S.-based business that is primarily involved in Government construction projects, including embassies, consulates, military posts, and marine barracks around the world.  From 1995 to 2021, MOAYEDI defrauded the U.S. Government — including the State Department, Treasury Department, Department of Defense, and General Services Administration — by lying in various respects.  In bids for contracting work, MOAYEDI mispresented his company’s ownership, his employees’ qualifications, his company’s construction experience, and his company’s financial condition, among other things. 

As to ownership, MOAYEDI falsely represented, repeatedly, that Montage was a female-owned business (or a female- and minority-owned business) in order to secure unmerited advantages in the bidding process.  In fact, MOAYEDI founded, owned, ran, and controlled Montage, and he made all material decisions on Montage’s behalf.  As MOAYEDI revealed to a bank that inquired about Montage’s ownership status in 2016, “I am the sole owner and president of Montage and have always been.” 

As to his employees’ qualifications, MOAYEDI significantly overstated the qualifications of various Montage employees in order to, among other things, meet State Department and contractual requirements for minimum experience in certain key positions.  For instance, MOAYEDI claimed, falsely, that certain Montage employees possessed engineering degrees.  He also claimed, falsely, that certain individuals worked for Montage when, in fact, they did not.

As to Montage’s construction experience, MOAYEDI submitted bids to the Government in which he repeatedly falsified Montage’s purported construction experience in order to burnish the company’s alleged credentials.  To ensure that the U.S. Government did not uncover these lies, MOAYEDI “backstopped” this fabricated experience by creating fraudulent email accounts and personas, so that someone else appeared to be “vouching” that Montage had performed this prior work.  This required creating online web domains (the “Fabricated Domains”), so that Montage’s purported references appeared legitimate.  These Fabricated Domains were extremely similar to, but one character or word different from, the legitimate web domains associated with actual entities. 

As to financial condition, MOAYEDI paid a Certified Public Accountant to prepare at least four different sets of books and records, each of which was provided to a different recipient (e.g., one fraudulent set for the U.S. Government, another fraudulent set for the bank, another fraudulent set for a company that sold construction bonds, etc.).

And to ensure Montage’s eligibility for sensitive U.S. Government contracts, MOAYEDI lied to obtain and maintain his Top-Secret national security clearance, including by concealing his ties to Iran, such as his dual citizenship with Iran, his Iranian passport, and his travel to Iran.

Further, between 2014 and 2020, MOAYEDI repeatedly paid cash bribes and kickbacks to an engineer in the State Department’s Overseas Building Operations division, May Salehi, in exchange for confidential inside information relating to several State Department construction projects, including projects in Ecuador, Spain, and Bermuda.  For instance, in late 2016 and early 2017, MOAYEDI paid $60,000 in cash to Salehi after Salehi provided confidential inside bidding information to MOAYEDI about the relationship between Montage’s original bid and his competitors’ bids — information that allowed Montage to raise its bid by nearly $1 million yet remain the lowest bidder on a construction project that was ultimately awarded to Montage. 

In addition to fraudulently obtaining government contracts, MOAYEDI’s company also committed fraud in the execution of government contracts, including by using substandard materials, using unqualified personnel, and falsifying an architect’s signature and stamp on architectural plans that had not been reviewed by the architect, including plans that related to safety and structural issues, such as fire protection, roof design, and structural steel drawings.

MOAYEDI also defrauded his primary bank (“Bank-1”) through various misrepresentations.  Montage had a multimillion-dollar line of credit at Bank-1, which MOAYEDI maintained through misrepresentations about Montage’s ownership and the value, progress, status, and existence of construction projects that Montage was performing for the U.S. Government.  For instance, in or about both 2014 and 2019, MOAYEDI made material misrepresentations to Bank-1 in support of an annual extension of Montage’s line of credit, including misrepresentations about purportedly lucrative “classified” government construction projects with distinctive names like “Area 6,” which, in fact, did not exist.

MOAYEDI also obstructed justice in multiple respects: (i) in September 2021, shortly after his release on bail in this case, MOAYEDI destroyed electronic evidence of his fraud on the U.S. Government by deleting six Fabricated Domains, which (as noted) he had used to help inflate Montage’s purported construction experience in bids for U.S. Government construction projects; (ii) shortly after the execution of search warrants at Montage’s offices in September 2020, MOAYEDI witness tampered by pressuring a co-conspirator to lie to investigators; and (iii) during a civil lawsuit between the State Department and Montage, MOAYEDI lied during a sworn deposition in 2019 by falsely claiming that a Hispanic woman had been the President of Montage “ever since” 2002 and that he was merely the Vice President of Montage.

Finally, in October 2023, the Court held a multiday Fatico hearing regarding the quality of construction that MOAYEDI and Montage provided the State Department.  The Court determined that MOAYEDI “provided grossly inadequate construction for several of the contracts of which he was in charge” and “that these numerous defects were intentional.”  In particular, the Court found that, “[r]epeatedly, Moayedi falsely inflated the credentials of key personnel -- and in some cases, submitted names of people who never even worked for Montage -- that he touted to the State Department to win bids, only to send in their stead people that he knew were patently unqualified for their roles once he secured the contract in question.”

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In addition to his prison sentence, MOAYEDI, 68, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $6,588,679.63 and forfeit $17,795,098.50.

May Salehi was previously sentenced to one year in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $500,000, and forfeiture of $60,000.

Mr. Williams praised the exceptional investigative work of the State Department, Office of Inspector General; Special Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; and the Internal Revenue Service. 

The Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit is handling this criminal case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Neff is in charge of the prosecution.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated December 8, 2023

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 23-420