US military owner pleads guilty to fraud, resolves investigation – Justice Dept. | Invest News

(Reuters) – The US Department of Justice said it has resolved investigations into communities Balfour Beatty, one of the US military’s largest private landowners, after pleading guilty on Wednesday to one count of major fraud and agreeing to pay over $ 65 million in fines and restitution.

Balfour Beatty, who was under investigation for defrauding the US Air Force, Army and Navy, was not immediately available for comment. The company is a unit of UK infrastructure conglomerate Balfour Beatty Plc.

In 2019, Reuters reports described how Balfour Beatty employees tampered with maintenance documents at Air Force bases to help the company qualify for incentive payouts, citing five former employees. who said they tampered with records, company emails and internal Air Force communications. Soldiers and their families were exposed to asbestos, vermin, mold and raw sewage.

The reports sparked an investigation by the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations and the Inspector General’s Defense Criminal Investigation Service.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan accepted the company’s guilty plea on Wednesday and ordered it to pay more than $ 65 million, serve three years of probation and hire an independent compliance monitor for a period of three years.

“Instead of quickly repairing US military housing as needed, Balfour Beatty Communities lied about the repairs to pocket millions of dollars in performance bonuses,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.

“This pervasive fraud was a consequence of Balfour Beatty Communities’ shattered corporate culture.”

Stacy Cabrera, a former housing manager at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, who told Reuters she felt pressured to manipulate records to meet bonus goals, pleaded guilty to major fraud in April. Rick Cunefare, a former regional manager for Balfour Beatty who oversaw bases in Oklahoma, Texas and other states, pleaded guilty earlier this year to major fraud.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

Elna M. Lemons