Four more NYC construction firms get investigated for alleged overbilling

If misery loves company then Bovis Lend Lease, the construction firm that agreed to pay $56 million in April to settle billing fraud charges, may soon be happy. WNYC reported that federal prosecutors are widening their probe into construction billing practices to include four more of the city’s biggest firms: Turner Construction Company, Plaza Construction, Skanska USA and Tishman Construction.

When Bovis settled the charges three months ago, Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, issued a statement saying, “The message should be clear to all who are engaged in similar contract billing fraud: You are in our sights.”

As The Real Deal previously reported, overbilling is considered by some to be a widespread practice in the city’s construction industry. Firms allegedly charge clients for overtime work that they don’t complete.

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Building Trades Employers Association President Louis Coletti defended the practice and told NYC that it was part of the cost of doing business to ensure that the job was done in time.

But in April Lynch warned, “the defense that ‘everyone does it’ will not be a shield against law enforcement.” However, some believe Bovis got off too easily[WNYC]