Former Vice President of Alberici Constructors Inc. Indicted in Kickback Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 13, 2013|
ST. LOUIS, MO—A former vice president of St. Louis-based Alberici Constructors Inc. was indicted by a federal grand jury in St. Louis for orchestrating a kickback scheme in which Alberici is alleged to have lost at least $4.8 million. Clone Jefferson Oliver, 56, Apollo Beach, Florida, was indicted on seven counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in an indictment returned today.
Also charged was Kenneth Marc Simmons, 55, La Grange Georgia, who ran a business that supplied materials to an Alberici construction project in Arlington, Virginia. Oliver and Simmons are expected to surrender to authorities in St. Louis next week.
According to the indictment, Oliver was the project manager for Alberici on a project to build a water treatment plant in Arlington. Work on the project began in September 2006, and the cost of the project was $238,000,000. Oliver is alleged to have collaborated with Simmons on submitting inflated invoices and false change orders for materials provided to the project by Simmons’ business, Industrial and Municipal Supply (IMS). The indictment charges that, when IMS received payment on the bad invoices, Simmons kept a share and then forwarded money in the nature of kickbacks to Oliver. Simmons made many of the payments to a corporation formed by Oliver called Advanced Construction Solutions which had the same initials (ACS) as another supplier to the Arlington project, American Construction Services. The indictment refers to Oliver’s company as the “fake ACS,” while the latter company is referred to as the “real ACS.”
It is alleged that Oliver and Simmons used the real ACS to draw even more money out of Alberici. The owner of real ACS was directed by Oliver to inflate his company’s invoices and, upon payment by Alberici, to transfer the inflated payment to IMS which, in turn, would send money on to Oliver. It is estimated that Alberici lost over $1.7 million by Oliver using the real ACS entity that way.
“No matter how sophisticated a fraud scheme, it will eventually be exposed,” said Dean C. Bryant, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI St. Louis Division. “The FBI aggressively seizes items acquired with stolen money and returns the value of those items back to the victims.”
“IRS-Criminal Investigation is committed to unraveling complex financial transactions and money laundering schemes where individuals attempt to conceal the true source of their money,” said Sybil Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the St. Louis Field Office.
Both Oliver and Simmons are charged in five counts of mail and wire fraud with each count carrying a maximum prison term of 20 years and/or fines to $250,000. Oliver is charged in two additional counts of money laundering with each count carrying a maximum prison term of 10 years and/or a fine up to $250,000. If convicted, each defendant would be subject to an order of restitution in favor of Alberici.
The government has already filed civil forfeiture actions against two properties which are alleged to have been purchased or financed with funds from the scheme. One is a home in Apollo Beach, Florida, that is alleged to have been purchased for $1.1 million in 2008. The other is a home in Zephyrhills (aka Wesley Chapel), Florida, on which first and second mortgages were alleged to have been paid off with stolen funds. The following assets were also seized pursuant to court orders tracing the proceeds of the scheme: two boats and a boat trailer; two SeaDoo water crafts; a Mercedes vehicle; a diamond ring; proceeds from the sale of two Harley motorcycles and a boat dock; and proceeds from the refinancing of a property on Lake Martin in Alabama. Any proceeds from those court actions will go to Alberici as the victim of the offenses charged.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys James E. Crowe, Jr. and Anthony Franks are handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.