Demolition company settles feds’ fraud suit To pay $61,000; accused of turning in dishonest claims

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A Fort Wayne demolition company settled a federal lawsuit alleging it submitted fraudulent payment claims for work authorized through a government economic stimulus program last year. Martin Enterprises Inc. – which closed in May, according to its website – had a contract to fill excavation sites with clean fill, but instead filled the areas with construction debris from February to September 2017. The company sought and received payments under the Blight Elimination Program, a subset of the Troubled Asset Relief Program created by the Treasury Department in 2008.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II said Martin will repay $30,508 and pay a $30,508 civil penalty.
“We will not tolerate dishonest contractors who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of federal taxpayers,” Kirsch said. “My office’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Unit will continue to require contractors who submit fraudulent claims for federal government funds to reimburse the government for their ill-gotten gains and also pay civil penalties under the False Claims Act.”
The city of Fort Wayne was a program partner that awarded the contract to Martin, according to a news release. The program funded the demolition of abandoned and blighted properties. Christy Goldsmith Romero, special inspector general for TARP, said in a statement Martin was the only local demolition contractor to receive funds under the program.
Martin was founded in 1904 and did work including setting steel for Memorial Coliseum and “clearing the grounds” for Parkview Field, its website states.

mleblanc@jg.net MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

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