PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The former supervisor of the 6-10 Connector highway redevelopment project has admitted to lying about the origin and quality of materials later found to be contaminated, according to U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha.
Dennis Ferreira, a former employee of Massachusetts-based Barletta Heavy Division, pleaded guilty to three counts of making false statements in connection with the federally-funded highway project.
Ferreira told a federal judge that, in July 2020, he lied to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation about where 93 truckloads of loose stone came from, as well as 52 truckloads of soil.
Cunha said the stone was imported from a construction site in Massachusetts, while the dirt was transferred from the Pawtucket-Central Falls Rail Station.
Ferreira then lied to federal investigators about the purity of the soil, according to prosecutors, and handed in a report that falsely represented the stone’s environmental quality.
The state demanded Barletta remove the imported soil from the 6-10 Connector after an independent consulting company confirmed it was contaminated.
Barletta Heavy Division has since been ordered to pay a $500,000 fine and return $1 million to the federal government, which is more than twice the funds paid as a result of the claims.
Barletta has also entered into a non-prosecution agreement in connection with the false statements made to RIDOT and the Federal Highway Administration regarding the redevelopment project.
The agreement, in which Barletta accepts responsibility for the actions of its employees, requires the construction company to implement ongoing monitoring, reporting and compliance measures for the next three years.
Ferreira is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2023.