Three Enter Guilty Pleas in Shaw Air Force Base Scheme
Contact Person: DeWayne Pearson (803) 929-3000
Columbia, South Carolina ---- James Autry “Audi” Clemens, age 60 of Johnston, SC, Larry Baker, age 64 of Cameron, SC and Steven Crandall, age 59 of Salisbury, NC entered guilty pleas to theft of government funds in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641 in connection with their scheme to defraud Shaw Air Force Base through various construction contracts. Clemens entered an additional guilty plea to one count of money laundering in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) for his role in the scheme. According to facts presented during the guilty plea hearing, the men would inflate costs of construction projects by submitting invoices that falsely claimed that additional workers and resources were used to complete construction jobs on the base. The men would then split the fraudulent payments between themselves. The maximum penalty Baker and Crandall face is 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Clemens faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000.
"Mr. Clemens guilty plea is significant in sending a message that while fraud involving government contracts may be initially lucrative, nothing lasts forever and the consequences are serious. We and our law enforcement partners will work continuously to uncover this type of criminal activity." said Thomas J. Holloman III, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. The case was also investigated by agents of the United States Air Force and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson of the Columbia office.