Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, N.Y., announced two new arrests this month related to an ongoing probe of corruption on construction projects for New York City utility Consolidated Edison Corp. The investigation had led to charges filed in January against 10 current and former Con Ed construction officials who allegedly accepted $1 million in kickbacks from contractors, but the contractors were neither identified nor charged at the time.
Now U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell has said the alleged corruption occurred in connection with work at Metropolitan Transit Authority and city Dept. of Environmental Protection jobsites where Con Ed was working. According to Campbell, Russell Ball, the 82-year-old founder and CEO of Roadway Construction Inc., Brooklyn, has been charged with paying up to $60,000 in bribes to Con Ed officials on subsurface water main and utility line construction projects between 2002 and 2004. The payments were in exchange for the cooperation of an unnamed Con Ed supervisor in approving inflated invoices for labor and materials. The Con Ed supervisor also shared proceeds with other utility managers, says Campbell.
Under the scheme described by Campbell, the Con Ed supervisor and Ball concocted a scheme in which the Con Ed manager submitted phony invoices to Roadway from a shell company. Ball then drafted checks on the contractor�s account payable to the shell company, which were cashed by another Con Ed employee.
Proceeds were then shared by utility employees privy to the scheme.
Also charged separately was Joseph Lioi, 56, a retired chief construction inspector for Con Ed. Authorities allege he solicited and accepted $24,000 in kickbacks from an unnamed contractor on utility projects in suburban Westchester County in 2007 in exchange for approving and expediting inflated invoices. The defendants could not be reached.
Attorneys for Ball and Lioi could not be reached, but the defendants each face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, if convicted.