Huge fraud case involving alleged engineering impostors uncovered in California

Hundreds of buildings may have to be demolished.

February 12, 2016 |
Huge fraud case involving alleged engineering impostors uncovered in California

Photo: Thomas Hawk/Creative Commons

California authorities have charged two men with a 12-year scam in which the pair allegedly posed as licensed professionals and drew up engineering and architectural plans for homes, apartments, commercial properties, and strip malls.

Using stolen software, Wilfrido Rodriguez and Ruben Gutierrez allegedly provided bogus plans for hundreds of buildings in at least 56 Southern California cities beginning in 2003. Because neither of the men had the training, expertise, or credentials to vouch for the safety of the building plans, these structures may have to be demolished.

Authorities said the scope of this case is unprecedented, and at this stage they can’t be sure that the buildings are safe for occupancy. Law enforcement officials are working with the state Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists to determine the scope and risk posed by the alleged fraud.

Rodriguez and Gutierrez had previously worked for the Palos Verdes Engineering Company before initiating the alleged scam.

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