Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Crime

June 23, 2014

Gross Contracting employee gets probation

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — BUFFALO — A Niagara Falls resident was sentenced to a year of probation for his role in a business scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Attorney's office announced Monday.

Walter H. Weiss, 61, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara for his conviction of conspiring to make a false statement in a HUD transaction.

Weiss was an employee of John Gross at David Gross Contracting Inc. who conspired with John Gross and other employees to prepare and submit false and fraudulent bids for contracting work, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. False bids were purported to be from competitors of Gross Contracting and were higher than bids submitted by Gross Contracting. Employees were shown to have maintained blank letterhead for various competing companies in order to pull off the scheme, according to Kennedy.

In one instance, after flooding due to a water main break in 2009, a Niagara Falls resident contacted Gross Contracting for a home repair estimate. Gross Contracting submitted its own bid and a false, higher bid that appeared to be from a competitor. Kennedy said the fake bid was submitted with the intention of manipulating and defrauding the HUD grant program that ultimately paid Gross Contracting's $2,545 bill for the repairs.

In January 2012, John Gross was sentenced to 33 months in prison for his role in the scheme.

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