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Feds Bust ‘Disadvantaged’ Contractor

MANHATTAN (CN) - Federal prosecutors say a contractor defrauded the government of $6 million in a Westchester County highway project by claiming the steel he provided came from a "disadvantaged business," though only 1 percent of it actually did.

Yona Jimenez aka Yona Bocchino, sole owner and president of Global Marine Construction Supply, of Roslyn, N.Y., faces as much as 20 years in prison if convicted of mail fraud.

Jimenez claimed that his company, GMCS, supplied $6,034,750 in structural steel that came from disadvantaged businesses for the Cross-Westchester Expressway project, from 2006 through 2009.

Prosecutors say he knew that only 1 percent of the steel came from an eligible suppler. The federal program was established in 1980 by the U.S. Department of Transportation, to increase opportunities for minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses.

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