Hanover Construction Company to Pay $100,000 in Connection with Submitting False Invoices to Municipalities for Road Sand
BOSTON – A Hanover construction company has agreed to pay $100,000 for allegedly submitting false invoices for road sand to a number of Massachusetts municipalities, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
According to the complaint filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, P.A. Landers, Inc. (Landers) submitted false invoices to Massachusetts municipalities beginning in 2004 that claimed it was providing “washed sand” as required by the municipal contracts, when in fact it was providing lesser quality unwashed or “screened” sand.
“We allege that this company provided an inferior product than what had been promised under contracts with Massachusetts cities and towns,” AG Coakley said. “Today’s action is an important step in preserving the integrity of the public bidding process and ensuring all businesses are operating on a level playing field.”
The complaint alleges that Landers was able to secure contracts to sell washed sand to numerous municipalities. Washed sand is regularly used by municipalities for sanding roads in the winter months. According to authorities, the pits used by Landers did not have any washing equipment. Landers was allegedly supplying the lower quality screened sand in place of the washed sand paid for by the municipalities.
The Commonwealth further alleges that beginning in November 2005, while Landers was suspended from public contracting due to a federal investigation, similar false invoices were submitted to the same municipalities by “Gil Land Services,” a corporation that was set up by a Landers employee to take over and service Landers’ clients. This corporation shut down almost immediately after Landers’ suspension from public contracting was lifted in April 2008.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Landers will pay $100,000 to the Commonwealth. The AG’s Office plans to work with the affected municipalities regarding the implementation of the settlement. Landers may also face debarment from public contracting if it submits any other false claims in the next 18 months. The settlement was approved today by Judge Elizabeth M. Fahey in Suffolk Superior Court.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer Chief of the AG’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force.