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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that JERRY GASKILL, 63, of Cedar Island, N. C. was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Raleigh, N. C.

The indictment charges GASKILL, who is employed as the Director of the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division, with (1) conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act and the Rivers and Harbor Act, and to make material false statements, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371; (2) a Rivers and Harbor Act violation and aiding and abetting the same, in violation of Title 33, United States Code, Sections 403 and 406, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2; (3) a Clean Water Act violation and aiding and abetting the same, in violation of Title 33, United States Code, Sections 1311 and 1319(c)(2), and Title 18 United States Code, Section 2; and (4) a material false statements violation and aiding and abetting the same, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1001 and 2.

The indictment alleges that from at least October 2003 through October 2004, GASKILL conspired with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to dredge and fill navigable waters of the United States, and thereafter, to lie to the United States Army Corps of Engineers about those operations. More specifically, the indictment alleges that GASKILL and another agreed in January 2004 to “push” NC DOT vessels into the Corolla basin, a process which would alter the sound bottom with the hull of the vessels and propellers, and did so, knowing that no permits had been obtained. The indictment further alleges that on May 6 and 7, 2004, the conspirators used the propellers of NC DOT vessels to “prop wash” a channel in the Currituck Sound adjacent to Heritage Park in Corolla, North Carolina. The indictment further alleges that on June 25, 2004, GASKILL signed a written false statement claiming that the creation of the channel was unintentional. It is alleged that GASKILL submitted and caused to be submitted the false statements to the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Four other DOT employees, Billy R. Moore, Herbert F. O’Neal,

Douglas A. Bateman, and Stephen G. Smith have previously pled guilty to charges in connection with this incident.

If convicted, GASKILL could receive a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and 3 years of supervised release on Count One; a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment, a $100,000 fine and 1 year of supervised release on Count Two; a maximum sentence of 3 years imprisonment, a fine of the greater of not less than $5,000 nor more than $50,000 per day of the violation or $250,000, and 1 year of supervised release on Count Three; and a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and 3 years of supervised release on Count Four.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service with the assistance of the United States Army Corps of Engineers - Wilmington District. AUSA Banumathi Rangarajan is prosecuting the case for the United States.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A trial date has not yet been set.

 

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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