“The prime contractor on a Chicago bridge project shuttled its employees to woman-owned steel and concrete subcontractors hired to comply with government hiring goal programs, and later rehired the same workers in 2006 and 2007, federal prosecutors charge.
As part of the charges made last month against Elizabeth Perino, 57, the owner of two companies accused of serving as an illegal “pass-through” to help prime contractors fulfill subcontracting requirements for woman-owned businesses (WBEs) and disadvantaged businesses (DBEs) on the North Avenue Bridge project, the U.S. attorney in Chicago amassed different types of evidence of fraud. An essential part of the alleged fraud is that Perino’s companies performed no useful commercial function.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged $11 million to be used to develop M/WBE programs with greater oversight. The city plans to begin enforcing strict compliance initiatives including unannounced visits to city job sites, strengthening M/WBE certification requirements and training courses for general contractors and their subs on M/WBE fraud.”