Contractor pleads guilty to stealing state funds Ex-officer of firm pocketed $50,000

October 15, 1993|By Frank Langfitt | Frank Langfitt,Staff Writer

A former officer of a Cockeysville contracting firm -- which has worked on about $58 million worth of state projects -- pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing more than $50,000 on one of them.

Louis S. LoZito Jr., who had been acting president of his family's LoZito Contracting Inc., pleaded guilty to theft in Baltimore County Circuit Court. The case focused on invoices LoZito altered on the 1990 construction of the D.C. Children's Center near Laurel, according to the attorney general's office.

The plea came a day after his father, Louis LoZito Sr., the current president, bowed out of a $4.5 million state contract his company won in August. The attorney general's office had advised the state to strip the company of the contract because of the investigation. The Maryland Board of Public Works did so

Wednesday, giving it to the second-lowest bidder, Roy Kirby & Sons of Baltimore.

"Mr. LoZito Jr. took actions that he believed would benefit his father and his company," said the company's attorney, Bruce Hanley of Towson, referring to the plea.

Authorities said LoZito Contracting began work on the project in April 1990. When work not included in the contract had to be done, subcontractors put in change orders.

Before submitting the invoices for state approval, the younger LoZito increased the price for the work. When the state paid the bill, LoZito paid the subcontractor and pocketed the overcharge. All told, he stole $50,111.58 from the state, authorities said.

Deputy Attorney General Ralph S. Tyler would not say whether there was any evidence of impropriety on other state jobs. He did say, however, that the investigation was concluded.

LoZito, who is 35 and lives in Glen Arm, is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 16. The attorney general's office will recommend an 18-month sentence and full restitution.

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