A former PennDOT official has been accused of accepting payments from an unnamed private contractor in exchange for paying the contractor with public money “even when the contractor did not perform the work,” state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement today. The state charged Nicholas Martino with one count of “conflict of interest – restricted activities,” a felony. Martino, 53, who turned himself in, waived a preliminary hearing and was released on $10,000 unsecured bail. A message left at his suburban Norristown home was not returned.
The charges followed an investigation that began in 2013, under Shapiro’s predecessor, Kathleen Kane, who prosecuted a string of corruption cases against state officials until she herself was sentenced to prison for perjury and abuse of office, writes JOseph N. DiStefano in the Philadelphia Daily News.
Martino served as Assistant District Executive for PennDOT’s District Six, based in Norristown, between 2006 and 2014.
In 2016, two Montgomery County contractos pleaded guilty in connection with alleged PennDot bid-rigging schemes emanating from the same Norristown district office, which covers Philadelphia and nearby suburbs. Christopher M. Czop, then 47, president of the Norristown-based engineering and surveying firm Czop Specter Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of bid-rigging. Thanh Nguyen, 62, of King of Prussia, pleaded guilty to one count each of corrupt organizations and theft by deception. Nguyen, 62, was accused of stealing $3.6 million from PennDot by falsifying and inflating work reports and failing to perform work his firm was hired to do.
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