Fourth Individual in NYPA Big-Rigging Scandal Comes Forward, Faces up to Three Years and $250,000

Washington, D.C.-  The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has recently come under multilateral investigation over allegations of bid rigging, tax fraud, and market fixture.  The DOJ, IRS, and New York Inspector General are all working jointly in this case and have subsequently made their fourth indivdual charge.  John Simonlacaj (White Plains, NY) has confessed to aiding the NYPA in filing false tax returns and now faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The original article is reproduced below with its link following.

 

Fourth Individual Charged in Ongoing New York Power Authority Procurement Fraud Investigation

The Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the New York State Inspector General, which are all conducting a joint federal and state investigation into bid-rigging, fraud and tax-related offenses in the award of contracts at the New York Power Authority (NYPA), announced today that a Westchester County, New York, resident pleaded guilty today to aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return.

According to the one-count felony charge filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in White Plains, New York, John Simonlacaj caused another individual to file a Form 1040 for the tax year 2010 that substantially understated that individual’s taxable income.  Simonlacaj pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“Our investigation into bid rigging and fraud by companies supplying the New York Power Authority has uncovered a variety of criminal activity,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse, head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Filing a false tax return is a serious offense and we are pleased to have worked with our partners in law enforcement to prosecute the criminal violation.”

“We say many times the FBI won’t stop until we find everyone responsible for their roles in a criminal investigation,” said Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office.  “These charges prove our tenacity in digging until we hit the bottom of the pile and uncover anyone who had a part in criminal wrongdoing.”

“Today’s plea marks yet another defendant admitting guilt following a bid rigging investigation that began at the state level. My office and those of my federal law enforcement partners, will continue to follow the evidence wherever it may lead,” said New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

“Mr. Simonlacaj is now held accountable for his role in filing a false tax return,” said Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen of the IRS Criminal Investigation New York Field Office.  “Towards pursuing its goal of ensuring that that everyone pays their fair share of taxes, IRS Criminal Investigation remains committed to this ongoing investigation.”

The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Office with the assistance of the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation and the New York State Office of the Inspector General.  NYPA is cooperating with the investigation.  Anyone with information on bid rigging or other anticompetitive conducted related to the award or performance of municipal and state contracts should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 888-647-3258 or visit http://www.just

Original Link

 



Company Must Pay $232.7 Million Penalty

The U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia entered a formal judgment yesterday memorializing the sentence requiring Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings Ltd. (SOHL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Schlumberger Ltd, to pay a $232,708,356 penalty to the United States for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) by willfully facilitating illegal transactions and engaging in trade with Iran and Sudan.

The judgment was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen Jr. of the District of Columbia and Under Secretary Eric L. Hirschhorn of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

At a hearing on April 30, 2015, the District Judge John D. Bates of the District of Columbia accepted the company’s guilty plea and sentenced the company to the proposed sentence articulated in the plea agreement, which called for the fine and other terms of corporate probation.  The court recognized the seriousness of SOHL’s criminal conduct, which posed a threat to our national security.  In addition, the court noted that the scope of criminal conduct justified the large monetary penalty imposed.  Finally, the court concluded that the terms of probation provided adequate deterrence to SOHL as well as other companies.  Yesterday, the court entered the written judgment confirming the sentence imposed on April 30, 2015.

“The court’s judgment represents a milestone in the enforcement of U.S. sanctions laws,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “This case marks the first conviction of a corporate entity for facilitating violations of the International Economic Emergency Powers Act and the highest criminal fine ever imposed in a sanctions prosecution.  The Court’s imposition of this serious sentence should serve as a strong deterrent for multinational corporations doing any business in countries subject to U.S. economic sanctions.”

“This guilty plea and sentence hold this company accountable for violating trade laws by doing business with sanctioned countries and undermining the interests of the United States,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen. “We hope that other companies tempted to break our export laws take note of the $232.7 million penalty that will be paid in this case.”

The criminal information and plea agreement were filed on March 25, 2015, in federal court in the District of Columbia, charging SOHL with one count of knowingly and willfully conspiring to violate IEEPA.  The plea agreement that the court approved also requires SOHL to submit to a three-year period of corporate probation and agree to continue to cooperate with the government and not commit any additional felony violations of U.S. federal law.  SOHL’s monetary penalty includes a $77,569,452 criminal forfeiture and an additional $155,138,904 criminal fine.  The criminal fine represents the largest criminal fine in connection with an IEEPA prosecution.  In addition to SOHL’s commitments, under the plea agreement SOHL’s parent company, Schlumberger Ltd., has also agreed to the following terms during the three-year term of probation, among others: maintaining its cessation of all operations in Iran and Sudan, reporting on the parent company’s compliance with sanctions, responding to requests to disclose information and materials related to the parent company’s compliance with U.S. sanctions laws when requested by U.S. authorities, and hiring an independent consultant to review the parent company’s internal sanctions policies and procedures and the parent company’s internal audits focused on sanctions compliance.

The court agreed that in addition to SOHL continuing its cooperation with U.S. authorities throughout the three-year period of probation and agreeing not to engage in any felony violation of U.S. federal law, SOHL’s parent company, Schlumberger Ltd., will also hire an independent consultant who will review the parent company’s internal sanctions policies, procedures and company-generated sanctions audit reports.

According to court documents, starting on or about early 2004 and continuing through June 2010, Drilling & Measurements (D&M), a United States-based Schlumberger business segment, provided oilfield services to Schlumberger customers in Iran and Sudan through non-U.S. subsidiaries of SOHL.  Although SOHL, as a subsidiary of Schlumberger Ltd., had policies and procedures designed to ensure that D&M did not violate U.S. sanctions, SOHL failed to train its employees adequately to ensure that all U.S. persons, including non-U.S. citizens who resided in the United States while employed at D&M, complied with Schlumberger Ltd.’s sanctions policies and compliance procedures.  As a result of D&M’s lack of adherence to U.S. sanctions combined with SOHL’s failure to train properly U.S. persons and to enforce fully its policies and procedures, D&M, through the acts of employees residing in the United States, violated U.S. sanctions against Iran and Sudan by: (1) approving and disguising the company’s capital expenditure requests from Iran and Sudan for the manufacture of new oilfield drilling tools and for the spending of money for certain company purchases; (2) making and implementing business decisions specifically concerning Iran and Sudan; and (3) providing certain technical services and expertise in order to troubleshoot mechanical failures and to sustain expensive drilling tools and related equipment in Iran and Sudan.

The investigation that commenced in 2009 was led by the Justice Department’s National Security Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia and the U.S. Department of Commerce BIS’ Dallas Field Office.  Assistant Attorney General Carlin is grateful to Special Agent Troy Shaffer from BIS’ Dallas Field Office for his excellent work.  Assistant Attorney General Carlin also acknowledged the work of those who handled the case from the National Security Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including former Trial Attorney Ryan Fayhee and former Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Borchert and Ann H. Petalas.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Casey Arrowood of the National Security Division, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maia L. Miller of the National Security Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Zia Faruqui of the District of Columbia.