Toxic Cleanup Manager Guilty of Kickbacks

     (CN) – A New Jersey jury convicted the project manager for two EPA superfund cleanup sites of receiving $1.5 million in kickbacks from subcontractors, the Justice Department said.
     The jury returned guilty verdicts on all 10 charges against Gordon McDonald, the former project manager tasked with cleaning up two New Jersey superfund sites – Federal Creosote in Manville and Diamond Alkali in Newark. The charges included bid-rigging, money laundering and defrauding the U.S. government between 2000 and 2007.
     At Federal Creosote, McDonald accepted kickbacks from sub-contractors in exchange for awarding contracts to clean up the site, the Justice Department said. He also tipped off Canadian-owned Bennett Environmental by disclosing competitors’ bids, allowing the soil treatment company to bid higher and still win the contract.
     Bennett paid McDonald $1.5 million for the information, the government said.
     Additionally, McDonald accepted kickbacks from the owners of JMJ Environmental and National Industrial Supply for contract awards at both sites. He also conspired with JMJ’s owner to rig bids and inflate sub-contract prices for wastewater treatment supplies and services.
     “Today’s guilty verdict sends a clear message that corrupt purchasing officials will be held accountable for engaging in fraudulent schemes designed to undermine the government’s competitive contracting practices,” said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s antitrust division. “The antitrust division is committed to ensuring there is fair play and competition in our markets.”
     The Justice Department also stressed that despite McDonald’s conviction, it continues to actively investigate the “prime contractor” in charge of cleaning up the sites.
     To date, eight individuals and three companies have pleaded guilty to similar charges. More than $6 million in fines and restitution and over 10 years of prison time have been imposed so far, the government said.
     McDonald returns to Judge Susan Wigenton’s courtroom for sentencing on Jan. 6, 2014. He faces up to 59 years in prison and $1.55 million in fines.

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