Former Construction Executive Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion In Connection With Bribery Scheme
Other Executives Charged and Sentenced for Participation in Same Construction Kickback Scheme
Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that RONALD OLSON, a vice president and deputy operation manager for Turner Construction Company (“Turner”), pled guilty today to charges of evading taxes on more than $1.5 million in bribes he received from building sub-contractors. OLSON is scheduled to be sentenced on December 9, 2020, at 11:00 a.m., before United States District Judge P. Kevin Castel. In related proceedings, co-conspirator Michael Campana, a subordinate construction manager at Bloomberg, LLC (“Bloomberg”), was sentenced last Friday, July 24, 2020, by the Honorable Denise L. Cote to 24 months in prison, for evading taxes on more than $420,000 in the same scheme. In addition, two managers of a construction contractor – Anthony Guzzone and Vito NiGro – were respectively charged on July 14 and July 22, 2020, for evading taxes on more than $1.4 million and $1.8 million in bribes that they respectively received in the same scheme.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “When bribery is coupled with tax evasion, both the bribery victims and the taxpaying public are forced to bear the hidden, unfair costs of corruption. This investigation has resulted in charges of such conduct by four defendants, one of whom pled guilty today, one of whom previously pled guilty and was sentenced last week, and the other two of whom were charged earlier this month.”
According to the four criminal Informations filed in these federal cases, as well as other public documents and recent court proceedings:
Between 2011 and 2017, GUZZONE was a construction project manager for Bloomberg, a global financial firm that was engaged in various building projects in New York City and elsewhere, while OLSON and NIGRO were executives at Turner, which performed construction projects for Bloomberg. For most of that time, beginning in 2013, CAMPANA was also a construction manager at Bloomberg. Each of the defendants participated in a scheme to obtain bribes from construction sub-contractors, who paid kickbacks to the defendants in exchange for being awarded various construction contracts and sub-contracts performed for Bloomberg.
In all, the defendants are charged with failing to pay taxes, between 2010 and 2017, on bribes exceeding $5.1 million. The defendants received such bribes in various forms, including millions of dollars in cash, as well as construction labor and materials for work on their individual homes and properties, and the direct payment of personal expenses. Such personal expenses included charges related to CAMPANA’s 2017 wedding, such as approximately $40,000 paid by sub-contractors to a catering hall in New Jersey, over $13,000 to a photography studio, and over $23,000 to a travel agent for airline tickets purchased in connection with CAMPANA’s honeymoon, as well as Super Bowl tickets worth almost $8,000 provided to GUZZONE. Each of the defendants evaded federal income tax on this bribery income, by failing to declare it on income tax returns for various years between 2010 and 2017.
In connection with the underlying bribery scheme, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office charged OLSON, CAMPANA, GUZZONE, NIGRO, and 10 others in December 2018 with numerous felonies, including charges of conspiracy, commercial bribery, and money laundering. On November 19, 2019, CAMPANA pled guilty in the State court case to money laundering in the third degree for his participation in the bribery scheme. (New York v. Guzzone, et al., case no. 04037-2018 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.), count 44). He is awaiting sentencing in that case, while the State charges remain pending against OLSON, GUZZONE, and NIGRO.
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OLSON, 53, of Massapequa, New York, pled guilty today to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2011 through 2017. That charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, and an order of restitution. The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
CAMPANA, 34, of Tuckahoe, New York, pled guilty to a tax evasion charge on November 26, 2019, for the tax years 2014 thought 2017, and was sentenced last week, on July 24, 2020, to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution of $155,000 in unpaid taxes (which he has repaid), and a fine of $10,000.
GUZZONE, 51, and NIGRO, 59, both of Middletown, New Jersey, were each charged in criminal informations, respectively on July 14 and 16, 2020, with a single count of tax evasion. The charges against GUZZONE pertained to the tax years 2010 through 2017, while the charges against NIGRO pertained to 2011 through 2017. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, and an order of restitution. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judges.
Ms. Strauss praised the excellent work of the Internal Revenue Service.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raymond Lewis, and Stanley J. Okula, Assistant Chief of the Criminal Appeals & Tax Enforcement Policy Section of the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, are in charge of the prosecution.
 In addition, all four defendants have been charged in New York State Supreme Court for their participation in the underlying bribery scheme, where CAMPANA has pled guilty in that case and is awaiting sentencing.