BRIDGE STREET/WESTIN HOTEL CONDOMINIUMS PROJECT MANAGER SENTENCED FOR MAIL/WIRE FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING
BIRMINGHAM- U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor today sentenced the project manager for condominium construction at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville to 2 ½ years in prison for mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.
Judge Proctor also ordered SCOTT M. HIPPARD, 51, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., to pay $510,800 restitution – the amount he received in kickbacks – and to forfeit another $465,800 to the government. The judge also directed Hippard be placed on supervised release for three years after his prison term is served.
Hippard was indicted in May 2009 and pleaded guilty in August.
Hippard was responsible for managing and ultimately deciding which general contractor would be awarded the contract for construction of condominiums at the Westin Hotel at the Bridge Street Town Centre. According to his plea agreement, he devised a scheme to have the condominium contract awarded to a certain person, who would build them at an inflated cost and split the proceeds with Hippard.
The contractor cooperated with the government and met many times with Hippard. The conversations were recorded and sometimes videotaped. Hippard was paid $5,000 cash on nine different occasions for a total of $45,000. He also received about $465,800 in other kickbacks related to the scheme.
“This type of fraud improperly lines individuals’ pockets and drains resources from projects that enhance our communities,” Vance said. “We will continue to investigate and prosecute these cases with an eye toward ensuring that monies meant for commerce and development don’t get diverted by the greed of one man,” she said.
“The American people benefit through better products and services when fair competition allows the most efficient and competitive companies to win contracts,” Maley said. “Mr. Hippard, through his actions, corrupted the competitive process and prevented a level playing field.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David H. Estes.
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