By Brad Segall
BRIDGEPORT, Pa. (CBS) — An ongoing investigation into what state prosecutors say is potential corruption and fraud inside Penndot’s District 6, which covers Philadelphia and the surrounding four counties, has resulted in the arrests of two people in Montgomery County.
Authorities arrested Thanh Nguyen (photo below), a Penndot contractor since 2009, and Robert Slamon, a state inspector whom prosecutors say was bribed by Nguyen to look the other way.
Prosecutors say Nguyen secured $26 million in contracts in the last five years, but is now charged with ripping off the taxpayers to the tune of $3.6 million for work the state says was never done.
Among the work that Nguyen allegedly failed to perform was herbicide spraying, tree trimming, graffiti removal, mowing, litter removal, and landscaping.
Defense attorney Brian McMonagle says his client maintains his innocence.
“(Nguyen) vehemently denies bribing anybody,” McMonagle said this morning. “He steadfastly maintains that for every day that he had this contract, he did the work that he promised to perform and did perform.”
Prosecutors say the thefts were driven by greed and compromised the safety of drivers in the area because roadside maintenance was not done. They say the investigation is continuing and they expect more arrests will be made.
Nguyen was released after posting ten percent of his $50,000 bail. He has been placed on travel alert status by Homeland Security.
Slamon was released on unsecured bail.
On Thursday afternoon, the Pa. Department of Transportation released a statement on the allegations that reads:
“When we became aware of the issues we immediately started to investigate the circumstances and review existing procedures. PennDOT is committed to honest and efficient management of the transportation system. We take these issues very seriously, are cooperating with investigators and have been aggressively pursuing follow-up action. We are conducting a vigorous, full-scale internal review of operations in our District 6-0 maintenance unit.”