Contractor Charged With Embezzlement, Fraud And Unpermitted Discharges Of Pollutants Into Susquehanna River

HARRISBURG- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a federal Grand Jury in Harrisburg has indicted Andrew Manganas, and Panthera Painting, Inc., on embezzlement, fraud, false statements, and environmental charges related to a subcontract performed as part of a $42 million rehabilitation project administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot).

  • According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Manganas, age 59, and his company, Panthera Painting, Inc., are both located in Canonsburg\
  • In September 2009, PennDOT awarded a contract for rehabilitation work on the George Wade Bridge to J.D. Eckman, Inc. (Eckman), as the prime contractor
  • The George Wade Bridge spans the Susquehanna River on Interstate 81 in Cumberland and Dauphin Counties, Pennsylvania
  • The contract amount was $42,480,434 with the FHWA’s federal-aid programs reimbursing 90 percent of that cost
  • In October 2009, Panthera was awarded a $9,875,000 subcontract by Eckman which covered the blasting, resurfacing, and painting of the structural steel on the George Wade Bridge. The subcontract amount rose to approximately $10,000,000
  • Manganas and Panthera allegedly embezzled money from benefit and pension plans by engaging in a “side payroll” scheme through which workers on the George Wade Bridge Project received two checks, one for regular hours and a separate “per diem” check
  • The “per diem” checks allegedly were for overtime hours worked and did not include required contributions to the workers’ union welfare benefit and individual employee’s pension plans
  • The Indictment alleges that approximately $400,000 was embezzled from union benefit and workers’ pension plans by Manganas and Panthera between 2011 and 2013
  • The Indictment also charges the defendants with 21 separate counts of making and using false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the FHWA by causing false certified payroll reports
  • The defendants are also charged with 21 counts of wire fraud

ENVIRONMENTAL  CHARGES 

  • The Indictment charges that the defendants knowingly caused discharges of pollutants into the Susquehanna River
  • The Federal Clean Water Act and its regulations, and the project’s contract, prohibit the discharge of pollutants without a permit
  • The Indictment alleges from 2011 – 2013, Panthera workers, at the direction of and with the knowledge of defendant Manganas, used a variety of methods and equipment to discharge pollutants, including abrasive paint blasting materials, waste paint, and metal, into the Susquehanna River
  • The embezzlement offense carries a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine
  • The false statement charges each carry a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine
  • The wire fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine
  • The Clean Water Act charges each carry a maximum penalty of up to 3 years in prison, and a fine of up to $50,000 per day of violation
  • Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court