Construction company pays $1 million to settle allegations of fraudulently misrepresenting work of a Small Disadvantaged Business on the Peoria airport terminal

by Ben Vernia | June 4th, 2020

On May 27, the Department of Justice announced that an Illinois-based construction company had agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations that the company misrepresented the participation of a Small Disadvantaged Business as a subcontractor on a federally-funded contract for work on the Peoria, Illinois airport terminal. According to DOJ’s press release:

Williams Brothers Construction Inc. (WBCI) of Peoria Heights, Illinois, has agreed to pay $1 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by misrepresenting its use of a small disadvantaged business to obtain a federally-funded construction contract, the Department of Justice announced today.

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The settlement resolves claims arising from WBCI’s construction of a new terminal building at the Peoria International Airport using Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant funds.  The FAA grant required the use of disadvantaged business enterprises for part of the construction.  The United States contends that WBCI knowingly made false representations regarding its plans to use a disadvantaged small firm on the project and then falsified documents to make it appear that an eligible business did window, glazing, and curtain wall work.  Instead, WBCI allegedly used that business only as a pass-through and had the work done by an ineligible company.

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The case apparently arose from a government investigation, and not from a whistleblower’s lawsuit.

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