- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey businesswoman has admitted accepting kickbacks in return for using her company as a straw contractor that allowed nonminority owned firms to circumvent regulations on federally funded transportation projects.

Federal prosecutors say Carol Sanzo pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. She faces up to 20 years in prison when she’s sentenced Oct. 18.

The 69-year-old Cranford resident owned Sanzo Ltd., a purported broker and supplier of construction materials. She operated the firm as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, which include small businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by women or minorities.

Sanzo admitted that in return for kickbacks, her company would act as a straw DBE and accept payment for goods and services that were actually provided by non-DBE contractors on federally funded projects.

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