- Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss announced Tuesday that Anthony Guzzone, former director of global construction at Bloomberg LLC, pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges in connection with $1.45 million in bribes he received from subcontractors in exchange for contracts on various Bloomberg construction projects.
- According to the complaint, between 2010 and 2017, Guzzone took bribes of more than $1.3 million in cash from five different subcontractors, as well as $150,000 in construction materials for use at his personal residence and a Super Bowl ticket package worth almost $8,000. Guzzone did not declare these unlawful payments and gifts as income on his personal tax returns.
- Guzzone is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 7, 2021, and faces up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the loss or gain from the offense and an order of restitution.
In August, Ron Olson, former vice president and deputy operation manager for Turner Construction Co., also pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion in relation to $1.5 million in bribes he received while he was working on projects for Bloomberg. Olson is also facing charges from the state of New York for conspiracy, bid rigging and bribery.
Neither Turner nor Bloomberg has been implicated in any wrongdoing. Two others were charged with tax evasion in connection with the same bribery scheme — Michael Campana, former construction manager at Bloomberg, and Vito Nigro, a former project manager for Turner.
Campana pleaded guilty in November 2019 to evading taxes on $420,000 of bribes and was sentenced in July to two years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $10,000 fine. He has already paid $155,000 in back taxes and also must make restitution.
The cases against Olson, Nigro, Campana and Guzzone were part of a New York State Police and Manhattan District Attorney's office investigation into "pay to play" schemes in New York City's $9 billion interior construction industry. Along with accepting bribes from subcontractors, the four were also accused of padding about $1 million of bills and then submitting those fraudulent invoices to Bloomberg.
According to risk assessment and mitigation research firm Kroll's 2019/2020 Global Fraud and Risk Report, preventing bribery and corruption in the construction industry is a "perennial" challenge worldwide. Only the transportation sector has a higher. There is some indication, however, that many construction industry firms believe that data analytics can be used to help reduce the number of bribery and corruption incidents.