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Contractor admits fraud in sales of concrete used to build U.S. Navy airfields

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Posted at 6:58 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 21:58:41-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) -- A concrete contractor went before a federal judge Wednesday in San Diego and admitted to providing false documents and faked test results in order to sell substandard concrete, which was used to build U.S. Navy airfields in the Republic of Djibouti.

In addition to pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Colas Djibouti, a French limited liability company, agreed to pay more than $12.5 million for making fraudulent representations regarding the quality of its concrete. Under the agreement, the company will forfeit $8 million, pay a monetary penalty of $2.5 million and another $2 million in restitution to the Department of the Navy.

As part of its contracts with the Navy, the company was required to certify that its concrete met certain composition and characteristic specifications, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors say Colas Djibouti knew its concrete did not comply with the specifications, and that its concrete was prone to early cracking, surface defects and corrosion of embedded steel.

In one instance, the company was asked for an analysis for the water used in its concrete mix, and provided an analysis for a store-bought bottle of drinking water instead, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"Our sailors and Marines depend upon high-quality products and services from our Department of the Navy contractors in order to meet the department's worldwide mission," said acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker. "This outcome demonstrates that the Department of the Navy will continue to insist that our contractors must meet our high standards."