Cabell County man enters guilty plea to tax fraud in connection to W.Va. Division of Highways pay-to-play scheme
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – A Lesage, West Virginia man pled guilty today to a federal tax charge, Acting United States Attorney Betsy Steinfeld Jividen announced.
Andrew P. Nichols pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Impede the Internal Revenue Service.” Nichols admitted to conspiring with others to impede tax collection of the IRS by using the expense account of an engineering consulting firm to make multiple covert payments via cashier’s check to Bruce Kenney, then an engineer at the West Virginia Division of Highways (“WVDOH”). The criminal conduct in this matter occurred from 2009 until at least 2011.
Nichols was previously named in an indictment in November 2016, accused of being a part of a scheme which caused approximately $1.5 million worth of WVDOH work to be routed to the Dennis Corporation, a Columbia, South Carolina engineering consulting firm.
Nichols, age 38, formerly served as the manager of the West Virginia Division of the Dennis Corporation while also working as an engineering professor. According to the initial indictment, he was alleged to have managed the financial relationships between Dennis Corporation and a WVDOH employee, and to have ensured that illicit payments were made to the WVDOH employee.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jarod J. Douglas prosecuted the case on behalf of the government. The case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the West Virginia State Police.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Seibert presided.