This week, a former Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) official was sentenced after he admitted to accepting bribes from contractors for several years.
On Tuesday, January 22, Pennsylvania State Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that 53 year old Nicholas Martino was sentenced to 9 to 23 months of house arrest, a $10,000 fine, and 50 hours of community service.
The sentence comes after Martino pled guilty to a felony charge of conflict of interest in Montgomery County Court earlier this year.
Prosecutors say that over an eight year period, Martino accepted money from an unidentified PennDOT contractor. While he was being paid, Martino reportedly continued to renew the contractor’s contracts with PennDOT even though the contractor did not perform work. Officials say that Martino “even had one Bucks County inspector fired for refusing to approve the work the contractor had not performed.”
Shapiro says that Martino’s conviction was part of a much larger investigation into corruption within PennDOT:
In 2014, following the conclusion of a statewide investigating Grand Jury, 10 PennDOT managers and employees were charged with overbilling the state transportation agency by millions over a three-year period in exchange for kickbacks from contractors. The investigation also resulted in guilty pleas of owners of two firms that have been doing business with PennDOT. Chris Czop, President of CZOP plead guilty and was sentenced in January 2018. Contractor Thanh Nguyen, owners of V-Tech Services and Utility Line Clearance plead guilty in 2016 to corrupt organization and theft by deception in 2016.
Shapiro said that Martino “played with taxpayer money in order to get a payout for himself. He accepted bribes and knowingly allowed a contractor to not perform their work under their contract with state government. No one is above the law – and my Office will continue prosecuting corruption and holding public officials accountable.”
Martino was employed by PennDOT as Assistant District Executive from 2006 to 2014.