Asphalt Companies Settle Fraud for $7.2M

MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2015

Two leading asphalt contractors in Puerto Rico will repay the U.S. government more than $7.2 million for covering up an unauthorized materials substitution on an airport runway project.

The case against BTB Corporation, R&F Asphalt Unlimited Inc. and two of their officers arose as a whistleblower complaint filed by a competitor, Betteroads Asphalt LLC of San Juan.

Under a civil settlement signed March 18 in U.S. District Court in San Juan, the companies and officers "allegedly conspired to knowingly and willfully defraud the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)" on a runway rehabilitation project at Rafael Hernandez International Airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

The Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General (OIG) said BTB and R&F had "allegedly submitted falsified certificates of compliance to cover up the fact that they substituted a different asphalt binder than required on the airport taxiway."

Authorities did not disclose what binder had been specified or substituted.

Repayment Plan

The project, by the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, was funded by the FAA's Airport Improvement Program.

BTBAsphalt R&FAsphalt
BTB Asphalt

BTB Asphalt (left) is one of the largest asphalt contractors in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. R&F distributes in southern Puerto Rico.

BTB president Juan Vazquez and secretary/operations manager Juan Raul Robles were also named in the fraud.

Under the settlement, BTB and R&F have agreed to reimburse the government $3,605,629 each. Each company has made an initial payment of $500,000, DOT said.

Going forward, BTB will repay its balance in equal annual payments of $776,407.25, and R&F will will pay $155,281.45 every three months until the full balance is repaid.

About the Companies

Founded in 2004, BTB Asphalt describes itself as one of the largest distributors, marketers and suppliers of bitumen and emulsions in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. The company's many products and concerns include BTB Corp. Paint, a road paint division.

Betteroads Asphalt

Betteroads Asphalt, founded in 1954, filed the whistleblower complaint that led to the government settlement. The company has paved more than 25,000 miles of Puerto Rican roads and runways.

R&F Asphalt, founded in 1997, distributes hot-mix asphalt throughout southern Puerto Rico to government and private clients.

Betteroads Asphalt, founded in 1954, has seven asphalt plants around Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. The company says it has paved more than 25,000 miles of roads, runways and other surfaces around Puerto Rico.



Tagged categories: Airports; Asphalt; Contractors; Fraud; North America; Program/Project Management; Specification

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