AG: Lower Saucon Twp. Victim of Engineering Firm’s Overbilling Scheme

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Zoning Lower Saucon Township Councilman

Lower Saucon Town Hall (FILE PHOTO)

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has returned more than $23,000 to Lower Saucon Township; money, it says, that it is owed due to past fraudulent billing practices allegedly perpetrated by its contracted engineering firm, Boucher & James.

In a Jan. 7 letter from the office’s Criminal Prosecution Section in Norristown, Chief Deputy Attorney General Kirsten Heine told township officials an accompanying check constituted “restitution of overbilled funds” from back to Jan. 1, 2015.

The Office of Attorney General has obtained the enclosed funds pursuant to a settlement with Boucher & James Inc. whereby they agreed to repay funds allegedly overbilled to your entity,” Heine wrote.

“Three former executives of the company–Ross Boucher, Mark Eisold and David Jones–were recently arrested and charged with theft and other offenses related to this alleged overbilling,” the letter continued. “The criminal case could result in additional restitution being paid.”

Heine said the Criminal Prosecution Section would send the township a list of projects where overbilling occurred and the amounts overbilled by project.

“This will allow you to determine whether the loss was suffered by your entity or perhaps another entity for whom you paid these costs,” she said.

Boucher & James is a large civil engineering firm based in New Britain Township, Bucks County. It provides contractual engineering services to more than 30 municipalities throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.

It has maintained a contract with Lower Saucon Township for at least the past 15 years.

In a Dec. 14 news release about the case, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro outlined an elaborate scheme that allegedly netted the executives nearly $1 million in overbilled payments.

Shapiro said Boucher, Eisold and Jones allegedly repeatedly billed municipal and other clients for the cost of fictitious time.

“These company executives took advantage of their municipal clients’ trust by routinely overbilling for work that never happened,” he said. “Let’s be clear about what this means: when you bill for time that you didn’t work, you are stealing–and these former Boucher & James executives will be held accountable for their crimes.”

The news release said the alleged scheme was carried out between 2009 and 2018, with “more than 100 entities (suffering) losses as a result of this theft, including Lower Makefield Township, Springfield Township, Richland Township Board of Supervisors, Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority, Souderton Borough, Cheltenham Township, Smithfield Township, Ivyland Borough and Pocono Township.”

Note: Individuals suspected of or charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This story was compiled using information from police documents and court records.

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