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Construction Firm Submits False Records, Hit With Heavy Fine

Falsely claiming the rental of a piece of heavy equipment lands one company in hot water.

Thu July 16, 2015 - West Edition

SEATTLE (AP) - A private construction company has agreed to pay more than $140,000 to settle claims that it submitted false records to the Washington State Department of Transportation while working on a highway project.

U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes says Tri-State Construction was working on a federally funded Interstate 5 HOV lane and filed claims from 2010 to 2014. The claims said the company was renting a specialized machine from a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. But Hayes says an investigation revealed that the machine was actually owned by Tri-State.

Hayes says the company tried to use a lease agreement to make it look like a DBE company owned it.

Tri-State did not admit any misconduct, but agreed to pay $142,440 to settle the dispute. Its work on the I-5 project was not disrupted.