Man guilty of false claims on state highway projects

A Hagerstown man pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of making a false statement by falsely certifying that precast concrete his company manufactured for two high-profile State Highway Administration projects met government standards.

Santos Eliazar Rivas, 32, admitted guilt on three counts as part of a plea agreement with the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore. According to prosecutors, Rivas was the director of quality control for Frederick Precast Concrete at a time when the company delivered precast structures for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement project and a project on Interstate 70 that were weaker than they should have been because corners were cut in the manufacturing process. According to prosecutors the state highway agency paid $131,410 for the defective materials used in the federally funded projects.

Rivas faces a possible jail term of five years and a fine of $250,000 on each of the counts, as well as a requirement that he pay restitution. He is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett Dec. 19.

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