Engineering Executive Convicted in Bid-Rigging Scheme

He conspired to rig bids for 300 state-funded projects over nearly a decade.

Charlotte, N.C.
Charlotte, N.C.

NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) — A former engineering company executive has been convicted of fraud and conspiracy related to bid-rigging for hundreds of North Carolina Department of Transportation projects over nearly a decade.

Jurors at the close of a weeklong trial found Brent Brewbaker guilty of six counts, according to a U.S. Justice Department news release and court documents. Brewbaker, a former executive for Ohio-based Contech Engineered Solutions LLC, faces sentencing April 12, the release said.

Prosecutors said a jury on Tuesday determined Brewbaker participated in conspiracies to rig bids and submit false non-collusion certifications involving 300 state-funded aluminum structure projects between 2009 and 2018. According to evidence, the release said, Brewbaker instructed a co-conspirator to submit non-competitive bids to the state DOT and to hide what was happening by varying the amount of inflated bids summitted.

Contech already had pleaded guilty to one count of bid-rigging under the federal Sherman Antitrust Act and one count of conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, prosecutors said. Contech agreed last June to pay a $7 million fine as well as $1.5 million in restitution to the state DOT.

Brewbaker faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on the bid-rigging conspiracy count and 20 years for each of the other counts, the Justice Department said.

An email message sent Friday to Brewbaker’s attorney seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter said the conviction sends a message that with massive spending in infrastructure projects about to begin, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division is committed to holding “accountable executives who target state and local governments with their bid-rigging and fraud schemes." President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law in November.

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