Former Construction Executive Sentenced To More Than 4 Years In Prison For Tax Evasion And Bribery Scheme | USAO-SDNY

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that VITO NIGRO, a former construction project manager at Turner Construction Company (“Turner”), was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 51 months in prison for evading taxes on more than $1.8 million in bribes he received from building sub-contractors, in connection with a number of building projects undertaken for Bloomberg LP (“Bloomberg”).  NIGRO previously pled guilty to those charges, and was sentenced today before U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres. 

In related proceedings, co-conspirator Ronald Olson, a former vice president and deputy operations manager at Turner, was sentenced on June 15, 2021, by the Honorable P. Kevin Castel, to 46 months in prison, for evading taxes on more than $1.5 million in the same scheme; Anthony Guzzone, a former director of global construction at Bloomberg, was sentenced on January 19, 2021, by the Honorable Lewis J. Liman to 38 months in prison, for evading taxes on more than $1.45 million; Michael Campana, a subordinate construction manager at Bloomberg, was sentenced on July 24, 2020, by the Honorable Denise L. Cote to 24 months in prison, for evading taxes on more than $420,000.[1]

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “Bribery and tax evasion in the construction industry impose hidden, unfair costs on law-abiding builders, contractors, and fellow taxpayers.  Appropriately, Vito Nigro has been sentenced to prison for his crimes.”

According to the four criminal Informations filed in these federal cases, as well as other public documents and recent court proceedings:

Between 2011 and 2017, NIGRO was a construction project manager at Turner, a construction firm that performed various building projects in New York City and elsewhere for Bloomberg, a global financial firm.  Throughout those years, Guzzone oversaw such building projects at Bloomberg, while NIGRO and Olson worked at Turner.  Beginning in 2013, Campana was also a construction manager at Bloomberg, and a subordinate to Guzzone.  Each of the defendants participated in a scheme to obtain bribes from construction sub-contractors, who paid kickbacks to the defendants in exchange for being awarded various construction contracts and sub-contracts performed for Bloomberg.  Olson and NIGRO also separately schemed to receive kickbacks in connection with construction projects Turner was performing for clients other than Bloomberg.

In all, the defendants have pled guilty to failing to pay taxes, between 2010 and 2017, on bribes exceeding $5.1 million.  The defendants received such bribes in various forms, including millions of dollars in cash, as well as construction projects on their individual homes and properties, and the direct payment of personal expenses.  Such personal expenses included hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of repeated renovations and improvement projects at NIGRO’s home in New Jersey and OLSON’s homes on Long Island and Long Beach Island, as well as a sham lease of that beach house, through which OLSON received $20,000 per month in payments that he falsely characterized as rent; Guzzone’s receipts of several sets of Super Bowl tickets, worth approximately $8000 per ticket; and Campana’s receipt of charges related to his 2017 wedding, such as approximately $40,000 paid by sub-contractors to a catering hall in New Jersey, over $13,000 to a photography studio, and over $23,000 to a travel agent for airline tickets purchased in connection with Campana’s honeymoon.  Each of the defendants evaded federal income tax on this bribery income, by failing to declare it on income tax returns for various years between 2010 and 2017.

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NIGRO, 60, of Middletown, New Jersey, pled guilty on October 28, 2020, to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2011 through 2017.  In addition to the prison term, NIGRO was sentenced to three years of supervised release.  He was also ordered to make full restitution, in an amount to be set by Judge Torres within 30 days.  The Government is seeking $812,108.93 in restitution for unpaid taxes and interest. 

Olson, 54, of Massapequa, New York, pled guilty on July 29, 2020, to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2011 through 2017.   He was sentenced on June 15, 2021, to 46 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $661,519.57 in unpaid taxes and interest. 

Guzzone, 52, of Middletown, New Jersey, pled guilty on September 29, 2020, to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2010 through 2017.  He was sentenced on January 19, 2021, to 38 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and restitution of $574,005.33 in unpaid taxes and interest.

Campana, 35, of Tuckahoe, New York, pled guilty to a tax evasion charge on November 26, 2019, for the tax years 2014 thought 2017, and was sentenced last week, on July 24, 2020, to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution of $155,000 in unpaid taxes, and a fine of $10,000. 

Ms. Strauss praised the excellent work of the Internal Revenue Service.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raymond Lewis, and Stanley J. Okula, Senior Litigation Counsel of the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, are in charge of the prosecution.  

 


[1]  In addition, all four defendants have pled guilty in New York State Supreme Court, Indictment No. 04038-2018, to participating in the underlying bribery scheme, and are awaiting sentencing.

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