April 24, 2014

PennDOT consultant arrested on perjury charges in connection with Grand Jury testimony

HARRISBURG - In the midst of an Attorney General investigation into potential corruption at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) District 6, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced perjury charges against a consultant inspector for allegedly lying in front of a Grand Jury. PennDOT District 6 comprises five counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties). 

Joseph DeSimone, 33, 2427 Hicks Street, Philadelphia, is charged with one count of perjury, a third-degree felony carrying a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. DeSimone testified before the Grand Jury on December 17, 2013. DeSimone is an employee of Construction Methods and Coordination, Inc. (CMC).

The Attorney General's investigation began in March of 2013, when a confidential source (CS) came forward and provided evidence of widespread abuse within District 6?s Highway Occupancy Permit Program (HOP).  PennDOT requires that a HOP permit be issued for any encroachment upon interstate highways, U.S. routes, or state highways.

According to the Grand Jury presentment, the CS had firsthand knowledge of the abuses in the HOP contracts due in part to the fact that the CS had been employed as a consultant inspector for a company contracted by PennDOT to perform inspections under the HOP program.

Among other information provided by the CS, which has been corroborated, was that consultant inspectors were systematically overbilling for time they were allegedly performing HOP inspections. Additionally, evidence has been obtained that many of the inspectors were providing illegal financial remunerations to PennDOT District 6 supervisors who permitted the overbilling abuse to occur.

As detailed in the Grand Jury presentment attached, DeSimone allegedly lied to the Grand Jury by failing to disclose conversations, when asked another oath, which he had with the CS before appearing at the Grand Jury on December 17. The CS working with investigators told the Grand Jury the same day that DeSimone had called him twice to find out what the CS had told investigators.

Phone records obtained later corroborated the CS's statements. Those records showed DeSimone had placed a nearly 20 minute call to the CS shortly before appearing before the Grand Jury.

DeSimone was arrested this morning in Philadelphia. He is expected to be arraigned later today.

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