U.S. Attorney David Anderson on Wednesday announced charges against a former engineer for allegedly forging building inspection reports. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Feds charge engineer accused of forging building inspection reports with fraud

A former engineer has been charged with fraud for allegedly forging inspection reports meant to ensure buildings were constructed to code in San Francisco and Sausalito, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Peter Schurman, a 70-year-old resident of Tiburon, is accused of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft for allegedly issuing the fraudulent reports between July 2015 and October 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Schurman, a former engineering technician and field inspector for various firms, allegedly stamped the reports with the names of other engineers without their knowledge or permission, according to prosecutors.

He allegedly carried out the scheme on one project in Sausalito and at least seven others in San Francisco.

Schurman was first accused of fraud in a lawsuit by the City Attorney’s Office earlier this year that also named former Building Inspection Commission President Rodrigo Santos, among others.

Like Schurman, Santos is now accused of fraud by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

An amended complaint in the lawsuit filed Jan. 22 accused Schurman of running “an illegal side business preparing fraudulent Special Inspection reports for construction projects in The City and elsewhere, and forging actual engineers’ signatures and professional stamps on such reports in exchange for money.”

Santos’ firm allegedly hired Schurman to falsify reports for projects at 147 Marietta Dr., 107 Marietta Dr., 1945 Green St., 2030 Vallejo St., 1740 Jones St., 1672-1674 Great Highway and 2050 Jefferson St., according to the complaint.

They allegedly submitted the reports to the Department of Building Inspection “to save money and evade proper oversight at the construction sites.”

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said he was pleased to see the criminal charges resulting from his office’s investigation.

“Our office works hard to ensure that those who break that law are held accountable,” he said. “No matter how elaborate the fraud is, we will unravel it.”

Schurman faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of mail fraud, and two years in prison and a $250,000 for aggravated identity theft.

Schurman appeared in federal court for the first time Wednesday and is scheduled to return Aug. 21. He was released on $50,000 bond.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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