Florida Man Sentenced in $100 Million Surety Bond Fraud Scheme
ATLANTA—Eric Campbell has been sentenced to four years, nine months in prison for operating a multi-million dollar surety bond fraud scheme which caused not only financial losses, but also created delays in construction projects across the country and compromised bids resulting in some contracts being awarded to unqualified construction companies.
“This defendant lied to building contractors and government agencies about his qualifications to issue surety bonds. When his fraud was uncovered and a new valid surety bond had to be found, the construction bidding process was compromised for various projects across the country. There were construction delays, and the construction firms that unwittingly purchased fraudulent surety bonds from the defendant lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in premiums they had paid,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn.
J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The level of fraud seen in this case was costly in many ways to those doing business with Mr. Campbell. It is hoped that the sentencing of Mr. Campbell will send a clear message to others that these types of criminal schemes to defraud are destined to fail and those involved will be held accountable.”
“Mr. Campbell orchestrated a scheme whereby he defrauded numerous individuals, businesses, and state and local governments of money based on false representations and promises” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Hopefully the sentence today will send a message to other individuals like Campbell, that this conduct will not be tolerated.”
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: From August 2012 until July 2013, Campbell used several corporations to sell fraudulent surety bonds on construction projects. Surety bonds are three party bonding agreements in construction projects where a surety company assures the project owner that a contractor will perform a construction contract. The federal government and many state and local governments require a surety bond for certain construction contracts.
Campbell caused fraudulent surety bonds to be submitted to DeKalb County, Georgia; McDonough, Georgia; the U.S. Veterans Administration; Palo Alto, California; the Commonwealth of Kentucky; American Somoa; the Army Corps of Engineers; Nogales, Arizona; and several United States military bases, among others.
The defendant fraudulently held himself out to contractors and government agencies as having the authority to execute or issue surety bonds on behalf of Federal Insurance Company and Pacific Indemnity Company, affiliates of the Chubb group. To perpetuate the scheme, Campbell created fraudulent surety bonds, embossed the bonds using a counterfeit seal and forged the signatures of Chubb group officials. Campbell and his associates issued bonds with a face value of more than $100 million and received premium payments of more than $2.2 million during the course of the fraud. In addition to financial losses, Campbell’s fraud scheme caused delays in several construction projects and compromised the construction bidding process because contracts were sometimes awarded to unqualified construction companies.
Campbell, 57, of Orange Park, Florida, has been sentenced by U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr., to four years, nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,904,376.67. Campbell was been convicted on this charge on October 20, 2014, after he pleaded guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Brown prosecuted the case.