Engineering firm pleads guilty to bid-rigging, fraud schemes

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A North Carolina engineering firm has pleaded guilty to conspiracies to rig bids and defraud the N.C. Department of Transportation, and was ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution and $7 million in fines, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

According to a news release on Monday, court documents show Contech pleaded guilty to one count of bid-rigging under Section One of the Sherman Antitrust Act and one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud. The firm was charged in a six-count indictment filed in the Eastern District of North Carolina on Oct. 21, 2020, the Justice Department said.

Former Contech executive Brent Brewbaker was charged as a co-defendant in the same six-count indictment, and he remains under indictment.

Contech agreed to pay a criminal fine of $7 million and restitution to the NCDOT of $1,533,988. The firm also agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation, the news release said.

Contech admitted to conspiring to rig bids to the NCDOT and conspiring to defraud the department to obtain contracts for infrastructure projects, officials said Authorities said the conspiracies started as early as 2009 and continued at least until March 2018.