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AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Baltimore, Maryland - James B. Digman, Sr., age 62, of Forest Hill, Maryland, who was president of a Maryland sheet metal company, Regional Air Systems (RAS), pleaded guilty today to lying before a federal grand jury, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to the plea agreement presented to the court, during its operation from 1998 to March 2006, RAS installed ductwork in buildings for heating and air-conditioning. RAS operated at the direction of a Maryland mechanical contracting company. The mechanical contractor determined the contracts on which RAS would bid and handled the accounting and financial matters for RAS. RAS worked almost exclusively as a subcontractor to the mechanical contractor and therefore almost always issued bills for its work directly to the mechanical contractor.
In early 2001, an agent of the mechanical contractor directed RAS to install ductwork in the home of a Maryland State Senator. RAS performed the work. Following his practice, Digman sent an invoice in June 2001 to the mechanical contractor requesting payment of $25,849. Shortly thereafter, the mechanical contractor paid $25,849 into the RAS account.
More than a year later, in the fall of 2002, after learning that law enforcement was investigating the Senator, an officer of the mechanical contractor directed Digman to create another invoice for the RAS work done on the Senator’s residence, but this time to send the invoice to the Senator and to reduce the amount charged by one-half. Digman therefore created a second invoice, back-dated to June 5, 2001, in the amount of only $12,531. Digman did not expect the Senator to pay the back-dated invoice.
In October 7, 2003, RAS received a check from the Senator for $12,531.
On April 13, 2005, Digman testified before a federal grand jury investigating the work done on the Senator’s residence. Digman falsely denied billing the mechanical contractor directly for the work performed on the Senator’s residence, and falsely denied any recollection of preparing and sending the second invoice to the Senator.
Digman faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. No date has been set for sentencing.
A number of individuals have already pleaded guilty in connection with this and related cases. W. David Stoffregen, age 53, of Towson, Maryland, pleaded guilty on November 28, 2006, to racketeering conspiracy in connection with Stoffregen providing various benefits to the Senator in exchange for the Senator’s agreement to use his influence and official position to assist Stoffregen and his company. Stoffregen also pleaded guilty to mail fraud in connection with his participation in a minority contracting fraud scheme. Finally, Stoffregen pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return that failed to report monies fraudulently obtained from his company through expense-report and invoicing-fraud schemes.
Geraldine Forti, age 57, the owner and President of Namco, and Michael Forti, age 58, both of Middle River, pleaded guilty on September 6, 2005, to filing a false tax return that failed to report income received from labor and services for the construction of the Fortis’ home. Michael Forti also pleaded guilty to mail fraud in connection with his participation in a minority-contracting-fraud scheme.
Jeanie Ashfield-Testa, age 63, of Ashburn, Virginia, Stoffregen’s office manager, pleaded guilty on October 20, 2006, to concealing a felony from federal law enforcement in connection with false expense reports submitted by Stoffregen. Ashfield-Testa admitted that she failed to disclose the fraudulent expense reports or her role in altering credit card statements during an FBI interview and at her federal grand jury testimony.
David M. Jackman, age 50, of Perry Hall, Maryland, a project manager, pleaded guilty on October 26, 2005, to making a false statement to the FBI when he claimed that he had always intended to bill the Senator for his company’s work performed at the Senator’s residence.
James Eick, age 49, of Perry Hall, Maryland, pleaded guilty on November 18, 2005, to mail fraud in connection with kickbacks on construction projects at a downtown Baltimore building. These projects involved a construction company owned by the Senator.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathleen O. Gavin and Michael J. Leotta, who are prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedNovember 20, 2006