The joint investigative efforts of the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General, the Office of the Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett, the Methuen Police Department and the FBI have resulted in a Methuen contractor pleading guilty to bid-rigging and presenting false claims.
On March 29, 2011 Christopher Medugno, a contractor who rigged bids in order to win work from the Methuen School Department, Housing Authority and Department of Public Works pleaded guilty in Salem Superior Court to 12 counts of manufacturing false bids and 12 counts of presenting false claims.
Judge David Lowy sentenced Christopher Medugno to one year in the House of Correction, 30 days to be served, the balance suspended for three years with probation. As conditions of his probation Medugno is precluded from directly or indirectly participating in any public service contracts, and must perform 200 hours of community service.
Essex First Assistant District Attorney John T. Dawley had asked the court to sentence Medugno to one year in the House of Correction with six months to be served; the balance suspended for three years with probation, and requested the same conditions imposed by Judge Lowy.
Prosecutor Dawley told the court that if the case had gone to trial, the Commonwealth would have proved that Medugno's scheme took place from 2004 - 2009, and that the total amount Medugno received as a result of the manufactured bids was $95,545.00. In all, he rigged 12 different contracts.
Prosecutor Dawley said that in order to win the bids, Medugno would forge two bids from competitors - who in fact weren't even bidding on the job - and then submit his own bid, which would be lower than theirs.
Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett said, "It is critically important that the integrity of the bidding process be immune from criminal conduct. Ultimately it is the taxpayers who pay the price for crimes like this, and who lose faith in municipal government when these dishonest practices take place. Bid rigging is something that we in law enforcement will not tolerate, and we will work diligently to uncover and prosecute these crimes, as evidenced by today's conviction of Mr. Medugno."