Hialeah construction company execs charged with defrauding affordable housing fund

Grand jury indictment alleges two Aaron Construction executives lowballed bids to get contracts for housing projects

Miami /
Jun.June 21, 2018 06:00 PM

The president and vice president of a Hialeah-based construction company face federal charges for allegedly defrauding Miami-Dade County’s low-income housing fund.

Javier Estepa and Diego Alejandro Estepa Vazquez of Aaron Construction Company, were charged in a four-count indictment on Thursday over their alleged involvement in a scheme to gain contracts with Miami-Dade Public Housing and Community Development to renovate and repair affordable housing units, according to the indictment.

The indictment, filed in a U.S. District Court in Southern Florida, alleges that between June 2014 and December 2016, Estepa and Estepa Vazquez devised a scheme where they would falsely and fraudulently underreport the number of workers on projects to artificially lower the company’s costs. By lowering these costs, they were able to submit “lowball bids” for Public Housing and Community Development (PHCD) work and gain contracts, according to the indictment.

Javier Estepa’s attorney Neil Taylor disputed the allegations. “We strongly disagree with the government’s perception and we are going to let a jury decide,” he said.

According to Aaron Construction’s website, the firm handles construction work for residential and commercial projects. The website says the company also has completed hotel remodeling in South Beach.

In order to gain these contracts, the indictment alleges Estepa, 47 and Estepa Vazquez, 36, submitted periodic or final estimates for payments that allegedly contained false and fraudulent payroll records. It said they falsely characterized that they had no subcontractors when in actuality they did.

Based on these statements, Public Housing and Community Development allegedly made three wire transfers to Aaron Construction between November 2014 and June 2016 to the defendants based on these bids — one for $516,366.41, one for $194,292.87, and one for $10,018.35.

The defendants are scheduled to have their initial appearance on June 25 before United States Magistrate Judge Patrick White. If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and restitution, as to each charged count.

Diego Alejandro Estepa Vazquez’s attorney Susy Ribero-Ayala declined comment.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
 Adam Neumann (Getty, Bal Harbour Florida)
Ex-WeWork CEO Adam Neumann inks $44M deal for Bal Harbour properties
Ex-WeWork CEO Adam Neumann inks $44M deal for Bal Harbour properties
3050 Coral Springs Drive in Coral Springs; 1361 Southeast Fourth Street in Deerfield Beach and clips from the complaints. (Google Maps, District Court of Southern Florida)
SEC charges South Floridians in alleged $9M real estate scam
SEC charges South Floridians in alleged $9M real estate scam
Alex Sapir and Giovanni Fasciano with Arte by Antonio Citterio in Surfside (Photos via Arte by Antonio Citterio/PR Newswire)
Miami penthouse sets cryptocurrency sale record: $22.5M
Miami penthouse sets cryptocurrency sale record: $22.5M
(Getty)
Weston man pleads guilty in Vermont Jay Peak EB-5 biomedical research case
Weston man pleads guilty in Vermont Jay Peak EB-5 biomedical research case
The Collection CEO Ken Gorin and developer Ugo Colombo. (Getty, Spring Engineering)
Ugo Colombo’s The Collection nabs $65M construction loan for second Coral Gables dealership
Ugo Colombo’s The Collection nabs $65M construction loan for second Coral Gables dealership
Total construction starts rose 14 percent in April. (Getty)
South Florida residential construction starts surge again in April
South Florida residential construction starts surge again in April
The Estate Companies Principal Jeff Ardizon and Managing Principal Robert Suris with a rendering of the project. (Estate)
Estate Companies scores $76M construction loan for North Miami Beach apartments
Estate Companies scores $76M construction loan for North Miami Beach apartments
Regalia condominium tower at 19575 Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach (Google Maps)
Regalia association scores $18M settlement in construction defects lawsuit
Regalia association scores $18M settlement in construction defects lawsuit
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...