Former Turner Construction Executive Admits to Tax Evasion in Bribery Scheme

Ronald Olson, a former vice president and deputy operation manager for Turner Construction Co., pleaded guilty to charges of evading taxes on more than $1.5 million in bribes he received from subcontractors in exchange for being awarded contracts for Bloomberg projects. He is one of four who have been charged in the scheme, which amounted to bribes exceeding $5.1 million.

On July 24, 2020 in related proceedings, Michael Campana, a former construction manager at Bloomberg LLC, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for evading taxes on more than $420,000 in the bribery scheme. Anthony Guzzone, a former construction project manager for Bloomberg, was charged on July 14, 2020 for evading taxes on more than $1.4 million in bribes while Vito NiGro, an executive at Turner, was charged on July 22, 2020 for evading taxes on more than $1.8 million.

“When bribery is coupled with tax evasion, both the bribery victims and the taxpaying public are forced to bear the hidden, unfair costs of corruption,” said Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a release about Olson’s plea.

Olson is scheduled to be sentenced at 11 a.m. on December 9, 2020 before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.

Background

The investigation focused on the period between 2011 and 2017 when Guzzone worked at Bloomberg. During that period, Olson and NiGro worked at Turner, which performed construction projects for Bloomberg. Campana began working for Bloomberg in 2013.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, each of the defendants participated in a scheme to obtain bribes from subcontractors, who paid kickbacks in exchange for being awarded various construction contractors and subcontracts performed for Bloomberg.

The four defendants have been charged with failing to pay federal income 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 labor and materials for work on their individual homes and properties, and the direct payment of personal expenses,” reads the release. “Such personal expenses included charges related to Campana’s 2017 wedding, such as approximately $40,000 paid by subcontractors to a catering hall in New Jersey, over $13,000 to a photography studio and over $23,000 to a travel agent for airline tickets purchased in connection with Campana’s honeymoon, as well as Super Bowl tickets worth almost $8,000 provided to Guzzone.”

In addition to the tax evasion charges, Olson, Campana, Guzzone, NiGro and ten others were charged with numerous felonies in December 2018 by the New York State Supreme Court, including conspiracy, commercial bribery and money laundering. On November 19, 2019, Campana pleaded guilty to money laundering in the third degree for his participation in the bribery scheme. He is awaiting sentencing in that case, while the state charges remain pending against Olson, Guzzone and NiGro.

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