In the latest episode of a crackdown by federal and local prosecutors on a $15-million bribery scheme related to major interiors work in Manhattan for Bloomberg LLP, the former director of global construction for the media giant was sentenced to 38 months in prison for evading taxes on $1.45 million in illegal payments, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss said on Jan. 19.
Prosecutors allege that Anthony Guzzone, 51, was involved in a multiplayer bribery and bid-rigging scheme, colluding with subcontractors and former Turner Construction managers for construction work. Turner had completed projects for Bloomberg.
Last September, the former executive pleaded guilty to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2010 through 2017, when he worked at Bloomberg, said Strauss.
Aside from serving prison time, U.S. District Çourt Judge Lewis Liman ordered Guzzone to pay restitution of $574,005 in unpaid taxes.
One of Guzzone’s subordinates at Bloomberg and a fellow co-conspirator, Michael Campana, was sentenced July 24, 2020 to 24 months in prison for evading taxes on $420,000 in the scheme. Campana worked under Guzzone as a construction manager.
Former managers at Turner Construction, Ronald Olson and Vito Nigro, also pleaded guilty to evading taxes on $1.4 million and $1.8 million, respectively, in bribes they received in the scheme. Olson will be sentenced on Feb. 3 and Nigro on March 8, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“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 sub-contracts performed for Bloomberg,” according to the U.S. Attorney.
The federal sentences follow sentences and fines announced last year to charges by the Manhattan District Attorney that the executives used inflated subcontractor bids, fake work orders and change orders, and misappropriated unused subcontractor allowance funds in the bribery scheme.
Neither Turner Construction nor Bloomberg have been prosecuted, and cooperated with law enforcement officials.
A Bloomberg spokesperson, in an email, noted the work of investigators and prosecutors in “bringing this to justice.”
In 2017, New York State investigators and police officers raided Turner Construction and Bloomberg’s New York City-based offices, using search warrants to examine documents and email chains from four employees involved in the massive scheme.
Prosecutors said last year that 22 subcontractor, vendor and company owners have also pleaded guilty to charges related to their roles in the conspiracy, paying $8.8 million in restitution.
City investigations and prosecutions of alleged criminal conspiracies by individuals and firms in the multibillion-dollar interiors construction sector date to the 1990s.