Two construction contractors and the owner of a Dorchester business allegedly ran a fraud scheme under the nose of Massport for ten years.
Massachusetts Port Authority receives federal funding to pay for contractors to sound-proof old homes around Logan Airport. Federal law requires at least 10 percent of the funds Massport hands out to eventually go to a business run by a minority or other person of disadvantaged status certified by the Department of Transportation.
But two contractors allegedly found a way around that — pay off an owner of a disadvantaged business.
David Hebert and Dennis Degrazia each face a charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States, according to court filings. Also charged is Robert Dickerson, owner of Woodchucks Building and Homes Center in Dorchester, a certified disadvantaged business.
When biding on a contract, Hebert and DeGrazia told Massport that Dickerson’s business would be used as a supplier of windows and doors for the proposed project, prosecutors allege. Dickerson was given a fee – about 3 or 4 percent of the material cost of a project – but his company did no work and supplied no materials, according to a federal indictment.
The conspiracy lasted from 1999 to 2009, according to a court filing. But prosecutors have not detailed how many contracts Hebert and DeGrazia won under the scheme, or how the scheme was uncovered.
Hebert and DeGrazia worked together at several construction companies that handled the retro-fitting projects around Logan as far back as the mid-80s, most recently co-founding U.S. Window and Door Construction Company in 2007, according to the indictment.
The three men were indicted in late May. Each pleaded not guilty and was released on unsecured bond in June with the restriction they don’t leave New England.
In July, Dickerson was granted travel so he could go with his family to Myrtle Beach for a week and a half.