Kentucky construction owner convicted of fraud on $15m contract

©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier
©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier
The founder of a South Carolinian construction company has been charged with wire fraud and money laundering after a six-day trial.

Antoine Berenyi, 63, was the founder of Charleston-based contractor Berenyi, Inc. He faced charges that in 2017, he had bribed Jaymin Vinson, an employee of a Kentucky steel distributor, to steer a $15m construction management contract to his company.  

Berenyi planned to pay $2.2m, or 15% of the contract value, to Vinson, and had already handed over $452,000 by 2019. After a federal trial, he was found guilty on 14 counts of wire fraud and 10 counts of money laundering. The guilty verdicts were jointly announced by US attorney Carlton Shier and FBI special agent Jodi Cohen.

Berenyi is scheduled to appear for sentencing in December and faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud counts, and 10 years for each count of money laundering. He may also face fines and restitution payments.

A press release from the US attorney’s office says that US sentencing guidelines and applicable federal sentencing statutes will be considered before a sentence is issued.

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