A former regional PennDOT executive pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from at least one contractor.
Nicholas Martino, 53, of Norristown, pleaded guilty recently to conflict of interest – restricted activities, a felony, for soliciting and accepting bribes from at least one contractor in exchange for continued contracts with PennDOT.
Montgomery County Judge Todd Eisenberg sentenced Martino to 9 to 23 months of home incarceration, a $10,000 fine, and 50 hours of community service.
An investigation into Martino began in 2013 after Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office special agents received a tip about corruption in the regional PennDOT area, which covers Bucks County and the Philadelphia area. A tipster, who investigators did not identify, provided evidence against Martino, who oversaw maintenance and roadside management programs as an executive with PennDOT District Six. A cooperating witness provided investigators with evidence against Martino, who oversaw general maintenance and roadside management programs in his role as assistant district executive for PennDOT’s District Six.
In the case, state investigators said a contractor paid off Martino, who was visible as he represented PennDOT before the media, and did not perform the work for which they were hired. At that time, Martino looked the other way and even had a Bucks County inspector fired for not approving the work the contractor did not perform.
“This state employee played with taxpayer money in order to get a payout for himself,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “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.”
In 2014, a Grand Jury led to charges against 10 PennDOT managers and employees who were part of a scheme that overbilled the agency for several millions over a three-year period while receiving kickbacks from contractors. Many of the former state workers who were charged took part in a diversionary program for first-time offenders.
“PennDOT employees from top to bottom work very hard each day to earn the trust of the people of Pennsylvania,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “We do not tolerate any activity that undermines that trust and, as in this case, when we learn of illegal activity within our ranks, we work immediately to root it out.”