Former Turner Construction executive pleads guilty to evading tax on $1.5m in bribes

A former vice president of Turner Construction, the US subsidiary of Germany’s Hochtief, faces up to five years in prison for evading tax on some $1.5m he got in bribes from subcontractors in return for work for Bloomberg, the financial services and media giant.

Another Turner executive and two Bloomberg construction managers have also been charged for their alleged roles in the multi-year kickback scheme that netted beneficiaries millions of dollars.

Ronald Olson, 53, pleaded guilty to accepting inducements to appoint specialist contractors. He is scheduled to be sentenced on 9 December 2020.

Olson is one of 14 executives, including from Bloomberg and Turner, charged with numerous felonies in the scandal, which came to light after an 18-month investigation and a raid on Bloomberg’s New York offices in 2018.

Last month on 24 July, Michael Campana, 34, a construction manager at Bloomberg, was sentenced to two years in prison for evading taxes on $420,000 worth of bribes. In November 2019, Campana also pleaded guilty to money laundering in the third degree. He is awaiting sentencing for that conviction.

Anthony Guzzone, 51, Bloomberg’s former global head of construction, was charged on 14 July this year with tax evasion.

Two days later, Turner executive Vito Nigro, 59, was also charged with tax evasion.

In all, the defendants are charged with failing to pay taxes between 2010 and 2017 on bribes exceeding $5.1m.

Other charges in connection with the bribery scheme – including of conspiracy, commercial bribery, and money laundering – remain pending against Olson, Guzzone and Nigro.

Details of lavish spending were given by the Southern District of New York’s US Attorney’s Office.

A number related to Michael Campana’s 2017 wedding, such as a payment of $40,000 to a catering hall in New Jersey, $13,000 to a photography studio, and $23,000 for a honeymoon.

Guzzone is said to have accepted Super Bowl tickets worth almost $8,000. According to a New York Post report in 2018, his home improvements include matching statues of elephants rearing up on their hind legs on the steps to the front door, as well as a pool, covered patio, gazebo, wishing well and an array of backyard solar panels – as well as a playhouse that’s a miniature replica of the lavish residence.

Olson, of Massapequa, New York, pled guilty to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2011 through 2017. As well as a possible prison sentence, he faces a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, as well as an order of restitution.

Image: Bloomberg’s New York City offices (Bloomberg)

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  1. There must be hundreds more the same

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