Aurora man sentenced to six years in prison for $300,000 construction scheme
An Aurora man was sentenced to more than six years in prison and ordered to pay restitution for crimes related to a scheme of more than $300,000 involving construction projects, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office.
Robert J. Berryhill, 51, previously pleaded guilty to five counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and one count each of aggravated identity theft and false personation of an officer or employee of the United States.
U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi sentenced Berryhill to 75 months in prison. She ordered him taken into custody and remanded at the conclusion of the hearing.
Berryhill created a fictitious company as a way to divert money on construction projects for his own personal use, including the restoration of a vintage Corvette sports car he had purchased, according to court documents.
“This defendant abused the trust of his employer, his colleagues and his customers in an effort to enrich himself,” said Dettelbach. “He used public contracts as a way to get his Corvette restored and his pockets lined with hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
“Robert Berryhill created false businesses, false invoices and ultimately pretended to be an FBI employee, all in a desperate attempt to defraud others out of $304,000,” Anthony said. “The FBI remains committed to detecting and stopping those defrauding others.”
Berryhill, previously served as the senior vice president of Carnegie Management and Development Corp. (CMDC) in Westlake, Ohio.
Knoxbi Company, LLC, which was managed by CMDC, won the bid to build an FBI office in Knoxville, Tennessee in August 2007. The company used Blaine Construction Company to serve as the on-site general contractor, according to court documents.
In March 2009, Indy-Fedreau LLC, which was also managed by CMDC, won the bid to construct an FBI building in Indianapolis. The company used Welty Building Company as the general contractor, according to court documents.
At the same time, Berryhill also created a fictitious contractor known as American Excavators Company (AEC) for the purpose of submitting false invoices to divert CMDC monies to his personal use, according to court documents.
From August 2008 through September 2009, Berryhill defrauded CMDC, Knoxbi, Indy-Fedreau, Blaine and Welty to obtain money. He did this by creating false invoices in the name of Ore Enterprises – the Pennsylvania company Berryhill hired to restore his vintage Corvette – and then submitted them to Blaine and Welty. Those companies paid the invoices then passed the cost on to Knoxbi and Indy-Fedreau for final payment, according to court documents.
Berryhill also created false invoices in the name of AEC that he submitted to Blaine and Welty. Those companies paid AEC and then passed the cost of the invoice to Knoxbi and Indy-Fedreau for final payment, according to court documents.
Overall, Berryhill caused an actual loss of at least $304,669. Judge Lioi ordered him to pay that amount in restitution.
Berryhill also falsely pretended to be an FBI employee identified as “W.C.M.” on July 28, 2008, and demanding that Blaine pay an invoice from Ore regarding the construction of an FBI building in Knoxville, according to court documents.
The case resulted from an investigation conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Patton.