Three former financial services executives were sentenced today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 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. The three former executives were convicted after a three week trial on May 11, 2012.
Dominick P. Carollo, Steven E. Goldberg and Peter S. Grimm, all former executives of General Electric Co. (GE) affiliates, were sentenced by District Court Judge Harold Baer Jr. for their roles in the conspiracies. Carollo was sentenced to serve 36 months in prison and to pay a $50,000 criminal fine. Goldberg was sentenced to serve 48 months in prison and to pay a $90,000 criminal fine. Grimm was sentenced to serve 36 months in prison and to pay a $50,000 criminal fine.
“By manipulating the competitive bidding process, the conspirators cheated cities and towns out of money for important public works projects,” said Scott D. Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. “The division and its law enforcement partners remain committed to rooting out such corruption.”
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 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.
At trial, the Department of Justice asserted that Carollo, Goldberg, 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.
“Today’s sentencing of Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm for their involvement manipulating a competitive bidding process of public contracts is the final step in a case that demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to investigate and prosecute those who illegally influence the financial markets for their own profit,” said Mary E. Galligan, Acting Assistant Special Agent Charge of the FBI in New York. “The co-conspirators scheme over many years deprived municipalities across the country of competitive interest rates on bonds, a yield that most cities would say they greatly need. The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to enforce the laws that protect our financial markets.”
"The sentences handed down today send a clear message that crime motivated by outright greed will land you in jail,” said Richard Weber, Chief, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). “Quite simply, the defendants stole money from taxpayers and conspired to manipulate the competitive bidding system to benefit themselves instead of the towns and cities that needed this money for important public works projects. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to uncover this kind of corruption and secure justice for American taxpayers.”
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 defraud the United States.
A total of 20 individuals have been charged as a result of the department’s ongoing municipal bonds investigation. Including today’s convictions, a total of 19 individuals have been convicted or pleaded guilty, and one awaits trial. Additionally, one company has pleaded guilty.
The sentences 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 Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on 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.