Structure Tone pleads guilty to charge of arranging inflated subcontractor bills

Construction firm acknowledges defrauding customers and will pay a $55 million forfeiture penalty.

May 02, 2014 |

Structure Tone, a global construction services firm with annual revenues of over $3 billion, will pay a $55 million forfeiture after pleading guilty to felony charges. The lawsuit in the State Supreme Court, in Manhattan, alleged that the New York-based firm had its subcontractors, including electrical, drywall, and plumbing subs, inflate bills for the company's clients. The work in question included jobs for Bank of America, Moody's, Proskauer Rose, Bloomberg, and other customers from 2005 to 2009.

A report in the New York Times indicates that Structure Tone pled guilty to one count of falsifying business records in the first degree, a felony. David Szuchman, the chief of investigations for the district attorney, says Structure Tone became aware of the investigation in 2010 and put new safeguards in place; Szuchman's office continues to monitor the firm's business records and will do so for three years.

When functioning as a CM, Structure Tone asked subs to put unnecessary contingencies in an addendum called "Rider B," which was unknown to Structure Tone's clients. Execs also asked for discounts from subs on lump sum contracts, when the firm was working as a GC.

The company issued a statement as follows:

“The record-keeping issues, which form the basis of this agreement, date back to the period 2005 to 2009, and we have fully cooperated with authorities from the beginning. The financial position of our company — which generates $3 billion annually in revenue — continues to be strong. Long before this process began, we strengthened our compliance protocols to improve transparency.”

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