A federal jury in New York City today convicted three former financial services executives for their participation in conspiracies related to bidding for contracts for the investment of municipal bond proceeds and other municipal finance contracts , the Department of Justice announced.
Dominick P. Carollo, Steven E. Goldberg and Peter S. Grimm, all former executives of General Electric Co. (GE) affiliates, were found guilty on all remaining counts of a superseding indictment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Carollo was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and defraud the United States, Goldberg was found guilty on four counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and defraud the United States and Grimm was found guilty on three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to defraud the United States.
The trial began on April 16, 2012. Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm were initially indicted on July 27, 2010.
“The defendants corrupted the competitive bidding process and defrauded municipalities across the country for years,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott D. Hammond of the Antitrust Division. “Through corruption and fraud, they cheated cities and towns out of money for important public works projects. Today’s convictions reflect our determination to preserve fairness and competition in the financial services market.”
According to evidence presented at trial, while employed at GE affiliates, Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm participated in separate fraud conspiracies with various financial institutions and insurance companies and their representatives at various time periods from as early as 1999 until 2006. These institutions and companies, or “providers,” offered a type of contract, known as an investment agreement, to state, county and local governments and agencies throughout the United States. The public entities were seeking to invest money from a variety of sources, primarily the proceeds of municipal bonds that they had issued to raise money for, among other things, public projects. Goldberg also participated in the conspiracies while employed at Financial Security Assurance Capital Management Services LLC (FSA)
According to evidence presented at trial, Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm and their co-conspirators corrupted the bidding process for dozens of investment agreements to increase the number and profitability of investment agreements awarded to the provider companies where they were employed. Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm deprived the municipalities of competitive interest rates for the investment of tax-exempt bond proceeds that were to be used by municipalities for various public works projects, such as for building or repairing schools, hospitals and roads. Evidence at trial established that they cost municipalities around the country millions of dollars.
“Fundamentally, this case is about fraud in the investment of public money,” said Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in New York. “The actions of the defendants denied public entities the benefits of true competitive bidding, and artificially depressed the yield on invested public funds.”
“Today’s convictions are an important step forward in the coordinated effort by the IRS and the Department of Justice to aggressively rid the municipal bond industry of unfair and corrupt practices,” said Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff. “Moreover, the convictions represent an important victory for America’s taxpayers, especially those who live in the municipalities harmed by the actions of the defendants.”
A total of eighteen individuals have been charged as a result of the department’s ongoing municipal bonds investigation. Including today’s convictions, a total of 15 individuals have been convicted and three await trial. Additionally, one company has pleaded guilty.
Each of the fraud conspiracy charges carries a maximum penalty per count of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum fines for the fraud conspiracy offense may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
The verdict announced today resulted from an ongoing investigation conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Office, the FBI and the IRS-CI. The division is coordinating its investigation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Today’s convictions are part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information about the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.
Anyone with information concerning bid rigging and related offenses in any financial markets should contact the Antitrust Division’s New York Field Office at 212-335-8000, the FBI at 212-384-5000 or IRS-CI at 212-436-1761, or visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm.