WASHINGTON — A former Consolidated Edison of New York (Con Edison) manager pleaded guilty today to charges that he accepted and agreed to accept approximately $807,000 in bribes from two Con Edison industrial pipe supply vendors, the Department of Justice announced today.
James M. Woodason of Edison, N.J., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, to participating in two separate conspiracies to defraud Con Edison. According to a four-count felony charge, Woodason, a former department manager of purchasing at Con Edison, accepted bribe payments from two industrial pipe supply vendors, in exchange for steering contracts to each of those vendors. The department said that Woodason was responsible for purchasing and awarding contracts for millions of dollars in goods and services and managing inventory on behalf of Con Edison.
According to court documents, Woodason accepted approximately $297,000 from one vendor in a bribery scheme that took place from approximately November 2003 through approximately August 2008. Woodason accepted approximately $45,000 in bribe payments from another vendor in a bribery scheme that took place from approximately January 2009 until approximately August 2010. He had also agreed to take an additional $465,000 in bribes from that vendor.
On Aug. 5, 2010, Woodason was arrested in connection with this investigation by special agents of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation.
According to court documents, in addition to two separate conspiracies, Woodason also pleaded guilty to one count of bribery for receiving a $20,000 cash bribe payment related to the 2009-2010 conspiracy and to one count of income tax evasion for failing to report bribes he received as income in the tax years 2004 through 2008.
According to the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Woodason agreed not to contest forfeiture of the $20,000 bribe payment found at his residence on the date of his arrest. As part of his plea agreement, Woodason also agreed to put $322,000 in escrow to pay restitution to Con Edison.
Con Edison is a regulated utility headquartered in Manhattan. It provides electric service to approximately 3.2 million customers and gas service to approximately 1.1 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. Con Edison received more than $10,000 in federal funding each year between 2003 through 2010.
Woodason is charged with two counts of conspiracy, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Woodason is also charged with income tax evasion, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The bribery count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum fine on each count may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
These charges arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation of bid rigging, bribery, fraud and tax-related offenses in the power generation industry. The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office, with the assistance of the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation. Con Edison cooperated with the department’s investigation.
Anyone with information concerning bid rigging, bribery, tax offenses or fraud in the power generation industry should contact the FBI’s New York Division at 212-384-3720, or the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office at 212-264-9308 or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.