A federal judge sentenced a contractor’s former superintendent June 20 for misleading officials about the source of fill and quality of contaminated fill used on the $410 million Route 6/10 interchange project in Rhode Island.
U.S District Court Judge John McConnell Jr. in Providence, R.I., sentenced Dennis Ferreira to a year of probation and ordered him to pay a $40,000 fine for three counts of making false statements in connection with a federally funded highway project. He had faced up to 15 years in prison and a fine as high as $750,000.
Ferreira had worked for Massachusetts-based Barletta Heavy Division Inc., which is the lead contractor on the project for the state Dept. of Transportation. Prosecutors say he lied to the agency about the origin of 93 truckloads of railroad ballast imported to the project site from a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority project in Jamaica Plain, Mass., and six truckloads of contaminated dirt from a train station and bus hub project in Pawtucket, R.I.
The stone had not been tested, but Ferreira was responsible for submitting a false report claiming that it had been tested and met criteria under the contract, prosecutors say. Later testing showed the material did not actually meet the project’s environmental requirements. Ferreira was also responsible for false agency statements about the movement of soil from the Pawtucket project when its removal from that site was not allowed, according to prosecutors.
Ferreira pleaded guilty to the charges last year. Kevin Bristow, an attorney for Ferreira, did not immediately respond to inquiries.
In addition to the criminal sentencing, the Federal Highway Administration has also suspended Ferreira from working on any federally funded projects.
Barletta previously agreed to pay a total of $1.5 million as part of a non-prosecution agreement settling the government’s criminal case and a civil False Claims Act case. The contractor also agreed to implement monitoring, reporting and compliance measures for three years.
Work on the Route 6/10 project started in 2018 and is scheduled to complete this year, according to RIDOT. The project involves reconstruction of the highway interchange, including seven bridges.