- A former vice president and deputy operations manager at Turner Construction was sentenced this week in Manhattan federal court to 46 months in prison for evading taxes on more than $1.5 million in bribes he received from subcontractors in connection with projects undertaken for global financial firm Bloomberg.
- Ronald Olson, 54, of Massapequa, New York, who previously pled guilty to the charge, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $661,519 in unpaid taxes and interest, according to a press statement from the Department of Justice.
- According to court documents, Olson participated in a scheme to obtain bribes from construction subcontractors, who paid kickbacks in exchange for being awarded contracts and subcontracts performed for Bloomberg.
Turner officials responded to the news.
"The former Turner employee betrayed our company, his fellow employees and our core values of honesty and integrity," a Turner spokesperson said in a statement sent to Construction Dive. "Turner has actively cooperated with law enforcement throughout the investigation and applaud their efforts in prosecuting the individuals involved."
In related proceedings, co-conspirator Anthony Guzzone, a former director of global construction at Bloomberg, was sentenced in January to 38 months in prison, for evading taxes on more than $1.45 million in the same scheme. Michael Campana, a subordinate construction manager at Bloomberg, was sentenced in July 2020 to 24 months in prison for evading taxes on more than $420,000.
In addition, Vito Nigro, a construction manager at Turner, has pled guilty to evading taxes on more than $1.8 million in bribes that he received in the same scheme, and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 1. The charges against Nigro carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, and an order of restitution.
Between 2011 and 2017, Olson was vice president and deputy operations manager at Turner, a construction firm that performed various building projects in New York City and elsewhere for Bloomberg. Throughout those years, Guzzone oversaw such building projects at Bloomberg, while Nigro worked at Turner as a subordinate to Olson.
Campana was also a construction manager at Bloomberg and a subordinate to Guzzone, beginning in 2013. Each of the defendants participated in a scheme to obtain bribes from construction sub-contractors, who paid kickbacks to the defendants in exchange for being awarded various construction contracts and subcontracts performed for Bloomberg.
The defendants pled guilty to failing to pay taxes between 2010 and 2017, on bribes exceeding $5.1 million. The defendants received such bribes in various forms, including millions of dollars in cash, as well as construction projects on their individual homes and properties and the direct payment of personal expenses, the court said.
For Olson, such personal expenses included hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of repeated renovations and improvement projects at his home on Long Island and his beach house on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, which were fraudulently documented through a series of false invoices. Projects included home improvements, the cutting and installation of marble, gardening, and the repaving of Olson's driveway, according to court documents.
Olson also used a sham lease for his beach house, through which he falsely characterized $20,000 per month in bribe payments as rent. Other payments included Guzzone's receipts of several sets of Super Bowl tickets, worth approximately $8,000 per ticket and Campana's receipt of charges related to his 2017 wedding, such as approximately $40,000 paid by subcontractors to a catering hall in New Jersey, more than $13,000 to a photography studio and more than $23,000 to a travel agent for airline tickets purchased in connection with Campana's honeymoon.
Each of the defendants evaded federal income tax on this bribery income, by failing to declare it on income tax returns for various years between 2010 and 2017, the statement said.
This story was updated to include comments from Turner Construction.