Ohio Company Pleads Guilty To Bid Rigging

An Ohio-based company has pleaded guilty to conspiring to rig bids and defraud the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), federal prosecutors announced.

Contech Engineered Solutions of suburban Cincinnati agreed to pay a criminal fine of US$7 million and pay US$1,533,988 in restitution to NCDOT. The agreement, reached in May and announced late Monday, June 7, settles an indictment brought by a federal grand jury in Raleigh last fall.

Prosecutors accused Contech and a former executive, Brent Brewbaker, of sharing bid information with a competitor on several occasions between 2009 and 2018. The two companies were ostensibly competing to provide aluminum drainage structures for roads and bridges.

According to prosecutors, Brewbaker and others at Contech would contact the would-be competitor, identified as “Company A” in the indictment, to find out what it planned to bid on each NCDOT project. Contech would then intentionally bid higher, giving Company A an advantage, the indictment stated.

But when Company A won an NCDOT contract, Contech also benefited, because “it supplied aluminum pieces to Company A for use in those projects,” according to the indictment.

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