TRENTON - Lying to land lucrative contracts from the New Jersey Department of Transportation carries a sizable price tag for Burlington County engineering firm owner.

Chetan Shah (NJ Atty. General's Office)
Chetan Shah (NJ Atty. General's Office)

In a Trenton courtroom, Chetan Shah, 62, of Mount Laurel, was given a suspended 364-day sentence in a county jail, provided that he adhere to terms of a three-year probationary period, a $250,000 penalty, and a five-year ban on conducting business with any New Jersey public or government agency, according to the office of Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino.

Shah, owner of S&R Engineers, paid the penalty before today's sentencing, authorities said The business ban extends to any entity in which he or his company have more than a five-percent ownership interest.

On August 2, Shah pleaded guilty to a third-degree charge of tampering with public records or information. The contract fraud investigaiton was forwarded to the state Division of Criminal Justice from the NJDOT Inspector General's office.

Shah admitted fabricating information on applications for four NJDOT bridge painting and construction projects, worth about $4,600,000, between 2011 and 2016. A fifth contract, worth $1,500,000, was set aside during the probe.

Shah told the court that he exaggerated Information about the experience and qualification levels of individuals working for, or believed to be working for, his company, in order to achieve higher bid scores. Authorites cited a claim that an employee, a 2006 high school graduate with no college education or engineering background, owned an associate's degree in engineering, with experience dating to 1999.

Investigators believe that he company would not have been considered under normal circumstances.

Shah was represented by attorney Edward J. Plaza, of Little Silver.

More from WOBM:

More From 92.7 WOBM