NJ Contractor Forced to Reimburse $160,000 after Over-Billing
More than 100 municipalities, utilities authorities, public works departments and other public entities have been reimbursed nearly $160,000 by a government contractor accused of over-billing.
The money was obtained through a settlement between the State Division of Consumer Affairs and Jet Vac, a Wharton-based company that sells and services various types of equipment including sewer cleaning, street sweeping and vacuum truck equipment.
Under the settlement, the former Vice President and General Manager of Jet Vac, Michael Rattay, has relinquished his role and is permanently barred from soliciting, negotiating, obtaining or administering any state contract.
"This company and its former general manager allegedly charged municipalities and other non-state entities for hourly labor and shop charges that were not permitted under their state contract," said Attorney General Jeff Chiesa. "This settlement removes Michael Rattay from the leadership he had when this alleged misconduct occurred, penalizes the company, provides restitution to the affected public entities and ensures that Jet Vac will comply with our laws in the future."
Under the settlement, Jet Vac paid $158,226.32 to the Division of Consumer Affairs as restitution for the affected public entities. The Division has sent individual checks to all affected agencies.
The average owed to each public entity was about $1,400. Jet Vac also paid the Division another $129,000 that was assessed in the settlement against Rattay.
During the state investigation it was revealed that from at least February 2003 until the middle of 2007 Jet Vac allegedly sent invoices to municipalities and other public entities with hourly rates and other charges that were higher than those permitted under the company's state contract.
Assistant General Manager of Jet Vac Adam Emusov responded via email. "This is a highly reputable organization with a track record over the past 25 years of providing exemplary service to its customers," he said. "As of February of this year, new management, in cooperation with the state, has taken all necessary steps to continue to provide the highest quality products and service to its valued customers."
Consumers who believe they've been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov or by calling 1-800-242-5846 or 973-504-6200.