Aurora Man Accused Of Diverting $225,000 From Construction Contracts For Personal Use, Including Restoring Corvette
A nine-count criminal information was filed charging an Aurora, Ohio, man with crimes related to a scheme of at least $225,000 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, is accused of creating 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 the information.
Berryhill, who served as the senior vice president of Carnegie Management and Development Corp. (CMDC) in Westlake, Ohio, is charged with 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.
“This defendant is accused of abusing the trust of his employer, his colleagues and his customers in an effort to enrich himself,” said Dettelbach. “He is accused of using public contracts as a way to get his Corvette restored and his pockets lined with hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
“Robert Berryhill is accused of creating false businesses, false invoices and ultimately pretending to be an FBI employee, all in a desperate attempt to defraud others out of at least $225,000,” Anthony said. “The FBI remains committed to detecting and stopping those defrauding others.”
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 the information.
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 the information.
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 the information.
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 the information.
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 the information.
Overall, Berryhill caused an actual loss of at least $225,919.
Berryhill is also accused of falsely pretending 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 the information.
The case resulted from an investigation conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Patton.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offenses and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases, the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases they will be less than the maximum.
An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.