Owner of Pittsburgh-Area Steel Erection Company Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States of More than $1,000,000 in Bridge Subcontracts
PITTSBURGH – A resident of Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to defraud the United States, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.
Donald R. Taylor, 78, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.
In connection with the guilty plea, Taylor, the owner of Century Steel Erectors Co. (CSE), admitted that he conspired with Watson L. Maloy, Jr. to use Maloy’s company, W.M.C.C. Inc. (WMCC), as a “front” company to illegally obtain federally funded subcontracts on Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) bridge projects. As part of his guilty plea, Taylor further admitted that the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), through the Federal Highway Administration, required PennDOT and the PTC to implement USDOT’s disadvantage business enterprise (DBE) program, which was designed, among other things, to promote participation of minority-owned small businesses in federally funded projects. Because CSE was not a certified DBE subcontractor, Taylor and Maloy agreed that they would use WMCC as a means to obtain DBE-eligible bridge subcontracts. Contrary to DBE requirements, however, Taylor admitted that CSE employees, acting at his direction, actually identified, bid, negotiated, and performed the work on DBE-eligible subcontracts. As a means to conceal CSE’s role in handling contracts awarded to WMCC, Taylor admitted that CSE employees used a WMCC email account and phone line, used magneticWMCC signs to cover the CSE logo on CSE vehicles at job sites, possessed WMCC business cards, and held themselves out as WMCC employees in dealings with general contractors and PennDOT and PTC officials. As a result, Taylor admitted that WMCC and CSE fraudulently obtained nine PennDOT subcontracts between approximately January 2012 and February 2014, resulting in payments to WMCC totaling approximately $1,065,000. In return, Taylor admitted that Maloy was paid a periodic “fee,” ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 during the conspiracy.
As part of his guilty plea, Taylor agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $85,221.21 to PennDOT.
Judge Fischer scheduled sentencing for March 9, 2018, at 9:00 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Maloy previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States on November 12, 2014, and his sentencing is currently scheduled for January 23, 2018 before Chief United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.
Assistant United States Attorneys Robert S. Cessar, Eric G. Olshan, and Christy Criswell Wiegand are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation of Taylor and Maloy, with assistance from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission – Office of Inspector General.