GEORGE E. B. HOLDING
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY - JUNE 20, 2007
THREE FORMER NC-DOT OFFICIALS INDICTED
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Raleigh has indicted three former officials of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (“NC-DOT”). They are DANNY RAY TAYLOR, 48, of Stokes, North Carolina; DON CHADWICK FORNES, a.k.a. Chad Fornes, 38, of Ayden, North Carolina; and MICHAEL J. DELMONTE, 40, of Washington, North Carolina.
TAYLOR is charged with one count of extortion under color of official right, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, and one count of receiving bribes concerning programs receiving federal funds, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. FORNES and DELMONTE are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit federal offenses, which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000; one count of extortion under color of official right, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000; and one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.
According to the Indictment, TAYLOR worked for NC-DOT from 1988 until 2006. He served as a District Engineer in Beaufort and Pitt Counties, exercising supervisory authority over a number of NC-DOT employees including FORNES and DELMONTE. As early as 2004, TAYLOR began using his position with NC-DOT to extort money from an asphalt paving company. With one company seeking a state contract, TAYLOR recommended it obtain a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certificate, advised it as to how to charge the state more money, and then awarded state contracts to that company. TAYLOR then informed the company’s owners that he would need “ten percent off the top.” According to the Indictment, TAYLOR received $7,300 in corrupt payments from this company.
According to the Indictment, FORNES began extorting money from contractors as early as January of 2000. FORNES would typically add extra hours to the time sheets to fraudulently increase the amount paid by NC-DOT to a tree removal company, and then demand a higher payment from the tree removal company. Later, in about 2002, FORNES began splitting the corrupt payments he received from the tree removal company with DELMONTE. FORNES and DELMONTE also received corrupt payments totaling at least $2,500 from an asphalt paving company. DELMONTE also extorted money from a land development company, which had a contract with NC-DOT to do storm clean-up after a hurricane. Once again, the company’s time sheets were inflated by DELMONTE in exchange for $1,800, which he split with FORNES.
With respect to the same contract that the disadvantaged business enterprise had with NC-DOT, in connection with which TAYLOR extorted $7,300, FORNES and DELMONTE also extorted $2,600 from the same company. Once again, the hours claimed on the time sheets were inflated to defraud the NC-DOT.
Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Dennis M. Duffy and John Stuart Bruce are prosecuting the case for the government. The investigation into activities at NC-DOT will continue.
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.