Two Men Indicted for False Invoice Scheme Against Birmingham Water Works Board
BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury today indicted two men on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.
A 21-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges JERRY JONES, 55, of Maylene, and TERRY WILLIAMS, 54, of Mt. Vernon, with conspiring between December 2014 and January 2016 to create false invoices and submitting them for payment to the Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) for work purportedly performed on the Shades Mountain Filter Plant project.
“These defendants demonstrated a callous disregard for the citizens of Birmingham by stealing money meant to improve the Birmingham Water Works Board’s operations,” Town said. “Their breach of the special trust given to them makes their thievery even more intolerable. We appreciate the investigative work of the FBI, and our partnership with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, in this investigation.”
According to the indictment, Jerry Jones was an Arcadis Vice-President and the Principal-in-Charge for Arcadis on the Shades Mountain Filter Plant project. Arcadis U.S., Inc., was an engineering and consulting firm with offices located throughout the United States, including Birmingham, Alabama. Arcadis entered into contracts with the BWWB to perform work on several projects, including design and bid phase services on a project involving improvements to the Shades Mountain Filter Plant.
Terry Williams owned a company in Mobile, Alabama, called Global Systems International, LLC (GSI). Arcadis entered into sub-contracts with GSI for work on certain BWWB projects for Arcadis. Terry Williams hired an individual to perform that work. Arcadis paid GSI by direct deposit into GSI’s bank account based on invoices submitted to Arcadis.
Each month, Arcadis submitted a report and invoice to the BWWB by email that summarized work by Arcadis and its sub-contractors on the BWWB projects. Arcadis included on the invoices amounts owed by Arcadis to sub-contractors. Per the terms of its contract with Arcadis, the BWWB was required to pay Arcadis a 10 percent premium over and above the amount charged by Arcadis’ sub-contractors.
As part of the conspiracy, Jones and Williams created nine GSI invoices falsely stating that during certain periods of time GSI employees had performed work for a certain number of hours on the Shades Mountain Filter Plant project. Jones sent emails to Arcadis employees to facilitate processing and payment of the false GSI invoices. Jones would then submit invoices to the BWWB that included the amounts reflected on the false GSI invoices, plus the 10 percent premium payment.
According to the indictment, BWWB paid Arcadis a total amount of $255,300.10, of that amount GSI received $232,091.00.
As part of the conspiracy, Williams shared the proceeds of the false invoice scheme with Jones.
The maximum penalty for the conspiracy charge is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
FBI investigated the case, which Assistant United States Attorneys George Martin and Catherine Long are prosecuting.