The PBSJ Corp., a Tampa-based architecture, engineering and construction firm, is conducting an internal investigation into whether its subsidiary, PBS&J International Inc., broke the law in pursuing projects overseas.

The $618-million, employee-owned company disclosed the investigation in a Dec. 30 filing to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. In the filing, it told the SEC that it could not file its required year-end annual report for 2009 on time because the audit committee of its board of directors was seeking “to determine whether any laws have been violated, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, in connection with certain projects undertaken by PBS&J International…in certain foreign countries.”

In the filing, PBSJ Corp. stated that it had “self-reported” the circumstances surrounding the investigation to the SEC and to the U.S. Justice Dept. and “will cooperate fully” should either decide to conduct their own investigations. The corporation is also the parent of engineering firm PBS&J.

A PBSJ Corp. spokesperson declined to provide no other details. “The [SEC] filing gave everything we can talk about,” she says, adding that is unclear when the corporation company might wrap up the inquiry.

News of the investigation comes just weeks after federal officials finally closed the book on another case involving alleged violations of federal election laws via a campaign contribution reimbursement scheme orchestrated by former company officials. That case ended in deadlock, with members of the Federal Election Commission voting 3-3 not to approve FEC staff recommendations that cited violations of federal law.

It also follows by several years settlement of federal charges generated by a $36-million embezzlement scheme orchestrated by a former chief financial officer and two other employees from the late 1990s until 2005. The scheme caused PBS&J to erroneously calculate its overhead costs and to overcharge its government clients.

The PBSJ Corp. ranks 30th on ENR’s List of the Top 500 Design Firms, with $594.3 million in 2008 revenue, nearly 60% in the transportation sector.