Feds Bought More Than A Thousand Faulty Parts For Bridge Projects

A Chicago man was sentenced to two years in prison for selling 1,270 defective bridge parts to the federal government that will cost more than $5 million to replace, a watchdog announced Friday.

Joel De La Torre forged documents and manufactured defective shock absorbers, according to a Department of Transportation Inspector General announcement. The faulty parts were used in 25 North Carolina highway projects between May 2009 and October 2011.

The announcement did not include a list of the 25 projects or their locations.  (RELATED: Seven Years After Obama Stimulus, 150,000 US Bridges Are ‘Structurally Deficient’)

“Costs associated with the replacement of the [shock absorbers] are expected over time to exceed $5 million due to the difficulty in removing the bearings from beneath existing structures, engineering costs and traffic control,” the announcement said. The shock absorbers “were defective because the steel plates were exposed, subjecting them to the elements and creating the potential for deterioration.” (RELATED: Obama Using Highway Funds To Cajole States Into Cutting CO2)

An unnamed federal highway contractor discovered Torre’s faulty parts in October 2011.

Torre was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Raleigh, N.C. April 21 and was ordered to pay $21,509 for false statements and aggravated identity theft.

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