George Wade Bridge: painting contractor sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that the painting contractor for the George Wade Bridge Project, Andrew Manganas, age 61, of Canonsburg, Pa., and Panthera Painting, Inc. was sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment followed by five years’ on supervised release.

Manganas is charged for theft from union plans, wire fraud, and discharge of pollutants into the Susquehanna River. Judge Sylvia H. Rambo also fined Manganas $20,000 and Panthera Painting, Inc. $200,000.

In September 2009, PennDOT awarded a contract for rehabilitation work on the George Wade Bridge to J.D. Eckman as the prime contractor. In October 2009, Panthera Painting was awarded a subcontract by Eckman that covered the blasting, resurfacing, and painting of the structural steel on the George Wade Bridge.

The federal oversight and funding of the contract required each contractor and subcontractor to submit Certified Payroll Reports for every worker and every pay period to certify that the appropriate wage was being paid to each worker.

Manganas and Panthera Painting, Inc. pleaded guilty in January 2018, to submitting false payroll reports that did not accurately reflect the amount workers were being paid.

By under-reporting wages paid, Manganas defrauded the federal agencies paying for the bridgework. By failing to properly remit wages to the unions, Manganas effectively stole money from the workers and the union.

“Andrew Manganas enriched himself by cheating his workers and their unions, and defrauding the U.S. government,” said Michael T. Harpster, Special Agent. “The FBI and our partners will continue to investigate and bring to justice those playing fast and loose with federal funds.”

Manganas and Panthera Painting pled guilty to knowingly discharging pollutants into the Susquehanna River over the course of three painting seasons of the Project.

Panthera workers, at Manganas’ direction, utilized a variety of methods and equipment to discharge pollutants, including abrasive paint blasting materials, waste paint, and metal, into the Susquehanna River rather than collecting them for recycling or disposal as hazardous waste.

“Clean, fresh water is one of Pennsylvania’s greatest resources,” said Jennifer Lynn, Special Agent. “The sentences, in this case, show that federal contractors will be called to account if they ignore laws aimed at protecting human health and the environment.”

“Today’s sentencing of Andrew Manganas and Panthera Painting, Inc., for wire fraud, theft from union plans, and discharge of pollutants into the waterways sends a strong message that such activity will not be tolerated,” said Douglas Shoemaker, U.S. Special Agent. “Together with our law enforcement and prosecutorial colleagues, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure the integrity of Federal-aid programs and protect the public and the environment from illegally discharged pollutants.”

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