WTF Hundreds of CA buildings engineered by phonies

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by MilkyDischarge, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. MilkyDischarge

    MilkyDischarge The "Fuckin' cockroach infestation!" Gold

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    Talk about getting away with it...

    Hundreds of California homes, buildings used plans drafted by 2 phony engineers, say authorities
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    Wilfrido Rodriguez, (l.), and Reuben Gutierrez, (r.), are suspected of using phony credentials and stolen software. (LA County Sheriff)

    Hundreds of buildings -- from houses to strip malls -- could face the wrecking ball after California authorities unraveled a decade-long scam involving a pair of phony building engineers who used stolen software to craft bogus blueprints, officials told FoxNews.com.

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    Wilfrido Rodriguez and Ruben Gutierrez, allegedly posing as licensed professionals and using stolen software, drew up engineering and architectural plans for homes, apartments, commercial properties and strip malls in at least 56 Southern California cities beginning in 2003, according to police. Neither had the training, expertise or credentials to vouch for the safety of the building plans, and authorities are only now grasping the scope of the problem.

    “There has never been a case involving alleged engineering fraud of this magnitude,” Detective Rod Barton, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau, told FoxNews.com. “Because this involves fraud related to structural engineering, we just don’t know if the houses are safe, unsafe or suitable for habitation.”

    “There is never been a case involving alleged engineering fraud of this magnitude.”

    - Det. Rod Barton, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

    The pair duped architects, builders and homeowners into believing they knew what they were doing, Barton said. Now, authorities are tasked with reviewing every building the pair worked on and determining if they are structurally sound, an issue made all the more urgent given the frequency of earthquakes in California.

    “A significant concern is foundations,” said Panos Prevedouros, a professor and chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. “Experienced drafters can work out safe designs for small masonry structures, but proper foundation design and specialized structural components required detailed engineering analysis.”

    Before embarking on their alleged scam, the pair worked for the Rolling Hills Estates-based Palos Verdes Engineering Company. The company, which declined to comment for this story, told authorities it uncovered the alleged engineering fraud after a customer complained about an offer made by the men in April 2014.

    Since that time, Barton and his bureau have been tracking down projects that involved the pair, and have been stunned and horrified at the number of buildings involved.

    “Up until then, nobody had any knowledge that this fraud was occurring,” Barton told FoxNews.com. “We visited 56 cities from San Bernardino and Riverside to Ventura County. Our nexus were the initial files Palos Verdes Engineering identified, and then we segued into other projects. It was a lot of groundwork.”

    Law enforcement authorities are working the Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists to determine the scope and risk posed by the alleged fraud.

    “Evidence thus far uncovered leads us to believe there were hundreds of projects built on their fraudulent structural engineering,” said Tiffany Criswell, the board’s enforcement manager. “Evidence leads us to believe there are additional properties we have yet to identify.”

    One challenge for law enforcement is that many local governments only keep design and engineering plans on file for six months.

    “The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sent contact letters to homeowners, developers, and architectural designers whose properties have been identified as possibly being associated with fraudulent structural engineering,” Barton said. “Investigators believe additional properties associated with structural engineering fraud may exist, but have not yet been identified.”

    The men have not been charged and are cooperating with the sheriffs’ detectives. While sheriffs didn’t say how much the men allegedly profited on the deal, they likely made at least $2,000 to $3,000 per project on potentially several hundred projects over 11 years, according to industry insiders.

    The LA sheriff’s white collar crime division will consider the case and whether to charge the men with a variety of crimes including civil engineering fraud, grand theft, theft of company identity, and forgery, LA sheriffs’ detectives said.

    Palos Verdes Engineering Company had no business relations with the men between 2003 and 2014, during the time the alleged fraud occurred, Barton said. The men allegedly stole software from the company, which was used to produce fraudulent engineering plans bearing its company name and logo, Barton said.

    “Palos Verdes Engineering Company’s civil engineer seal and forged signature was also used on structural engineering records to make the plans appear authentic, and as if they had been reviewed and approved by a licensed professional civil engineer.”

    Legitimate professional engineers must have a degree in civil engineering, pass several grueling exams and obtain five years of experience before they can sign off on design documents for implementation.

    On the architectural side, the value of architectural licensure is “immeasurable,” said Matt Tinder, spokesperson for
The American Institute of Architects, in Washington, DC.

    “Without it, the entire built environment could serve as a public safety hazard,” Tinder said.

    While there have been no glaring design flaws brought to the sheriff’s attention, there could be a risk to the public, which could be heightened by a natural disaster such as an earthquake. The sheriff’s department is advising homeowners who worked with Rodriguez and Gutierrez to contract the services of a civil engineer to go through the plans, examine their residence and determine if they are safe.

    “We want to make sure people are safe,” Barton said. “There is a reason all these requirements are in place. When the whole procedure is circumvented, something bad can happen.”
     
  2. DarkFriday

    DarkFriday Fired as a MOD...Twice. Gold

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    My house was built in 1984.
    I'm good.
    TY.
     
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  3. wife is a whore

    wife is a whore Tard News Team VIP

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    If something they designed collapses in an earthquake, they probably get murder raps for any dead.
     
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  4. MilkyDischarge

    MilkyDischarge The "Fuckin' cockroach infestation!" Gold

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    Can you imagine your building has to be torn down cause these clowns built it?
    Didn't inspectors catch on?
    Were these guys really smart or is engineering pretty easy?
     
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  5. Walygatr

    Walygatr Well-Known Member

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    You're supposed to be an engineer to do that? Uh oh.
     
  6. ShutupMoron

    ShutupMoron Unknown Member VIP

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    They had to have been making more then 2k-3k per project for those commercial structures and buildings.
     
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  7. R.P. McMurphy

    R.P. McMurphy Well-Known Member

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    ...i dont get it because plans have to go thru the city approval department and these cities have their own structural engineers on the payroll. even if youre just a city inspector you should be able to see something that is not kosher in a ny minute.
     
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  8. Willy Pfister

    Willy Pfister Indivisible Resister Gold

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    The solution is simple.

    We need a department of inspections. This department can employ many inspectors whose job is to inspect the inspecting qualifications of all the various other inspectors.
     
  9. sstressed

    sstressed enhancement toker

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    as a procurement specialist, i hired quite a few A/E and construction companies. this is an interesting scam. i'm thinking they gave really cheap quotes when fishing for the work but it's odd no one caught on.
     
  10. itsawig

    itsawig Well-Known Member

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    They will be making way more that 2 to 3000 per project. but they didn't do any the seismic calculations for those foundations based on soils reports. They could have gotten some right and some very very wrong
     
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  11. R.P. McMurphy

    R.P. McMurphy Well-Known Member

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    ...because the people in the city building depqrtments werent doing their fucking job but more concerened when they got a new car or truck or cell phone. somebody, several somebodies should have caught this.
     
  12. ilovebacon

    ilovebacon Well-Known Member VIP

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    Any inspector that signed off on these projects should probably be shitting their pants right about now. :eek:

    Either they didn't do their damn job, or they were on the take.
     
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  13. Dick Fitzwell

    Dick Fitzwell Opinions are like assholes ... and so am I

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    Names ending with "ez" = not gonna buy it
     
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  14. Sloppyjoe

    Sloppyjoe Wearer of Russian hats and steroids connoisseur Gold

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    This is what happens when you insist on the lowest bidder
     
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  15. DarkFriday

    DarkFriday Fired as a MOD...Twice. Gold

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    [​IMG]
     
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  16. crazypreacher

    crazypreacher Not followin whitey's rules

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    Lol. Beaners.
     
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  17. R.P. McMurphy

    R.P. McMurphy Well-Known Member

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    ...thats the standard but a private builder doesnt have to pick the lowest bidder if he doesnt want to. he can pick any bid or contractor he wants.
     
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  18. sstressed

    sstressed enhancement toker

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    :jj:

    we always spent the extra $$ and hired the A/E who designed everything inspect every step of the way. the fights between A/Es and contractors were fun.
     
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  19. R.P. McMurphy

    R.P. McMurphy Well-Known Member

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    ...thats a pic from the 17 story high rise that fell in the taiwan earthquake. for those wondering why the tin cans inside the broken concrete, those tins cans take up space that would have been filled with concrete upping the cost to the contractor but also upping the strength of the design of the beam.
     
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  20. Captain

    Captain Alto, Blanco y Guapo

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    Real property is a contact sport. The housing inspectors and real estate valuation experts can be next to worthless. Particularly up through the 2008 crisis, there were waitresses getting accredited as appraisal trainees, and who were supposed to report directly to qualified Real Estate Appraisers, but who were signing off on appraisals on their own. Moreover, the inspectors are not required to be licensed by the State (appraisers are). They are "accredited" through private associations. There are many great ones. But there are some who famously never touch the properties they sign off on. I had one where the wrong property was appraised and inspected. Turns out the "correct" property was land-locked with no easements. Basically a total loss to the investors. It's hard to trust anything on paper until it can be triangulated with multiple sources. There is just too much at stake.
     
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