07/17/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/18/2019 10:21
WASHINGTON - Paul M. Camara Jr., president and co-owner of an insulation contractor, pleaded guilty today in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for his role in schemes to rig bids in violation of the antitrust laws and engage in criminal fraud on insulation contracts, marking the third conviction in this ongoing investigation, the Department of Justice announced.
According to court documents, from October 2011 and continuing until March 2018, Camara, of Brooklyn, Connecticut, conspired with other insulation contractors to rig bids and engage in fraud on contracts for installing insulation around pipes and ducts on construction projects at universities, hospitals, and other public and private entities in Connecticut and elsewhere. The conspirators discussed prices and agreed on bids that inflated prices to their customers by at least 10%. In order to conceal their actions, the conspirators perpetrated the bid-rigging and fraud schemes using burner phones.
'Today's guilty plea is the result of the coordinated effort by the Justice Department and our law enforcement partners, including the FBI and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), to root out collusion relating to a $45 million scheme to rig bids and fix prices on contracts to the detriment of taxpayer-funded schools, hospitals, and other businesses,' said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. 'This plea is a warning to contractors engaged in bid rigging and fraud that they will be held accountable.'
'This is the third insulation contractor executive to admit his involvement in this extensive bid rigging and fraud scheme,' said U.S. Attorney Durham for the District of Connecticut. 'I commend the FBI, DCIS, and our colleagues at the Antitrust Division who, together, are ensuring that those responsible for these schemes are brought to justice.'
'Guilty pleas like today's solidify a strong message from law enforcement to contractors and others engaged in deceit and fraud of the American public, that we will aggressively pursue those individuals with the full gravity of our collective resources until justice is served,' said Brian C. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of FBI's New Haven Field Office.
'Ensuring the integrity of the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD) procurement process is a top priority for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS),' stated Leigh-Alistair Barzey, Special Agent in Charge of the DCIS Northeast Field Office. 'Bid rigging and fraud schemes, such as the ones in this case, disrupts the integrity of the procurement process and betrays the public's trust. Unethical decisions that occur within the DoD contractor community continue to strain the U.S. Defense budget, impacting DoD's resources and the American taxpayer. Today's guilty plea is the direct result of a joint effort and demonstrates the DCIS' commitment to work with the FBI, the DOJ Antitrust Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office, to investigate and prosecute individuals and companies that engage in anticompetitive and fraudulent activity impacting the DoD.'
The antitrust charge announced today carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a criminal fine of $1 million for individuals. The fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The fines for the antitrust and fraud conspiracy charges may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine. In addition to his guilty plea, Camara has agreed to pay restitution to the victims.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division's New York Office, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut, the FBI's New Haven Division, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Anyone with information in connection with this investigation is urged to call the Antitrust Division's New York Office at 212-335-8035, or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html.