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Electrical Contractor Indicted for Overbilling Beaumont ISD
BEAUMONT, Texas –A federal grand jury has returned a 37-count indictment charging a Beaumont electrical contractor with federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Calvin Gary Walker, 50, of Beaumont, was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 4, 2011 and charged with 3 counts of mail fraud, 6 counts of wire fraud, 5 counts of interstate transfer of funds by fraud, 18 counts of fraud in connection with organizations which receive federal funds, and 5 counts of money laundering involving transactions greater than $10,000.
According to the 37-count indictment which was unsealed this morning, a federal investigation revealed a pattern of deliberate overbilling of electrical projects by Walker, the owner of Walker's Electric Company, the outside electrical contractor for the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD). The indictment alleges that from 2008 to 2010, on at least thirteen different electrical projects, the defendant submitted sixteen invoices containing inflated amounts of the costs of materials used in the projects totaling over $3 million. On the temporary campuses of Regina Howell and South Park the indictment alleges the defendant misrepresented the material costs and 10% mark-up by over $1.5 million, in addition to invoices of over $546,000 for bucket trucks billed as equipment rentals. The indictment also alleges Walker billed BISD for bucket truck rentals of over $600,000 when his company already owned the trucks and did not incur rental costs.
Walker's Electric Company held the competitive bid contract to supply electrical services to BISD. The contract bound Walker to invoice the school district for materials at cost plus a 10% mark-up. Equipment rentals were also to be provided at cost plus 10%. In addition to the false material costs and bucket truck rentals the indictment alleges the defendant also benefitted by the larger mark-up on the inflated material costs and rentals.
The indictment also gives notice of forfeiture of two annuities totaling $3.4 million purchased by Walker with the illicit profits as well as a Mercedes vehicle and a parcel of land on Pleasure Island in Jefferson County, Texas.
If convicted, Walker faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each of the wire and mail fraud violations and up to 10 years for each of the interstate transfer, fraud in connection with federally funded organizations and money laundering violations.
Walker is to be summoned for an initial appearance to set bond or other conditions of release. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield and no trial setting has been made. This case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Rawls.
A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.