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Engineering Con Artists May Have Given 100s of CA Buildings Faulty Designs

Two men have been arrested for wide-scale civil engineering fraud after it was uncovered that they had used stolen software to draft blueprints for major construction jobs, all without any evidence of having received formal training or education on structural engineering. From apartment complexes to strip malls, the pair's potentially-faulty work has allegedly been used in nearly 60 cities throughout California. Authorities and safety administrations are incredibly concerned with structural integrity of the sites, especially since California is prone to periodic and strong earthquakes.

More than a decade after the long con began, a customer brought the work of the duo to the attention of the authorities in 2014 after feeling suspicious about their integrity and accreditation. At this point in the ongoing investigation, it would appear that hundreds of projects relied on their faulty and questionable engineering skills, but authorities are worried that there are many more to identify. Regulations in the industry currently only require local governments to keep engineering plans for up to 6 months after a project completes, so the trace of the fraudulent work has grown thin.

[Fox News has published a full story on their website, which can be viewed here.]

A Strange Story Grows Stranger

You might think that the duo would be awaiting prosecution but, interestingly enough, the arrest has not yet led to any charges. They are reportedly cooperating with law enforcement to find all of their projects. Consequences could be in the works, however, specifically charges for civil engineering fraud, grand theft, and forgery, as they had used the forged signature of a former employer to make their blueprints appear authentic. Even if no criminal charges are filed, they could be held financially responsible for all of the money required to inspect and repair their projects. But that could instead fall on the shoulders of each company that used their blueprints without double-checking for safety.

Is luck on the men's side, though? According to investigators, no egregious flaws have been found in their architectural designs so far. But it should be kept in mind that even a small error could be disastrous during an earthquake. At this point, the fate of the duo and their potential charges are likely to hinge on how much damage they ultimately have caused after all investigations are complete.

What might this mean for you? Owners and developers of projects which utilized the services and/or plans of these individuals may also be subject to liability as a result of their reliance on unlicensed engineers. As a real estate law firm in Southern California, Manly, Stewart & Finaldi has taken an interest in this ongoing story and can offer legal assistance to real estate owners and developers throughout California who may be worried about liability disputes in the near future. If this is of your concern, you can call their real estate attorneys toll-free at 1-800-980-6907, or fill out an online case evaluation form, to begin developing a sound legal strategy that addresses all issues and works to remedy the varied problems the pair of con artists may have created for you.

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