Bridge inspector falsified records: officials

ALBANY – A bridge inspector is facing felony state charges after he allegedly falsified inspection records for a bridge in Hamilton County, according to the New York state inspector general’s office.

Akram Ahmad, 57, of Bridgeport, Conn., was charged with first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, second-degree forgery in the second degree and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Ahmad was arraigned in Lake Pleasant Town Court and released pending further court action.

According to a news release, Ahmad allegedly falsified reports from a December 2013 inspection in which he claimed he worked on the Gilmantown Road bridge of over Elbow Creek in the town of Wells.

“This defendant was entrusted with inspecting vital state infrastructure, but he corrupted the process and falsified his own work,” Inspector General Leahy Scott said in a news release. “I will not tolerate anyone employed or contracted by the state who shows clear disdain for such critical work.”

Ahmad, who was an employee of DKI Engineering Capital Region engineering firm, a subcontractor for the state, conducted bridge inspections for the New York State Department of Transportation. The bridge had been previously inspected in 2012 and was found to have various deficiencies, including erosion along a wall under the bridge.

According to the inspector general’s office, the deficiencies that were reported in the 2012 inspection were repaired in September 2013.

Ahmad’s subsequent inspection report of the same bridge three months after the repairs were made noted the same deficiencies and used much of the same language as the 2012 report, “as if it were copied directly from it.”

“A town official at the time doubted an inspection could have been conducted in late 2013 due to ice and snow at the site. The NYSDOT was able to perform an inspection in early 2014 after the snow and ice cleared and found the repairs had been made and that the deficiencies Ahmad cited in his 2013 inspection report did not exist,” the news release states.

According to the release, the DOT often contracts with outside agencies to help with inspections of the approximately 17,000 bridges in the state.

The NYSDOT, U.S. Department of Transportation, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Hamilton County District Attorney Marsha King Purdue assisted with the investigation.

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