A former Turner Construction vice-president has admitted evading taxes on $1.5 million in bribes, in a sprawling construction-fraud case. Robert Olsen now faces as much as five years in prison, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced in a statement.
Olson was accused of taking bribes from subcontractors in return for work on projects at Bloomberg’s headquarters.
Officials raided Bloomberg’s offices at 736 Lexington Ave. in 2018. Olsen was one of more than a dozen executives at Bloomberg L.P., Turner Construction and their subcontracting companies, implicated in the scandal, Crain’s New York Business reported.
Earlier this month Olson’s co-conspirator Michael Campana was sentenced to two years in prison for evading taxes on $420,000 in bribes. Charges against two construction managers, Anthony Guzzone and Vito Nigro, are pending, the DA’s statement said.
Overall, the four men were accused of taking about $5.1 million in bribes, including cash, work on their personal homes, Superbowl tickets, and $75,000 to pay for Campana’s wedding and honeymoon, prosecutors said.
In July 2018, former Bloomberg facilities manager, Javier Paulino, pleaded guilty to taking bribes and stealing more than $1 million from the company by overcharging for interior work.
Olsen is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 9, 2020, at 11:00 a.m., before United States District Judge P. Kevin Castel.
“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,” acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement. “This investigation has resulted in charges of such conduct by four defendants, one of whom pled guilty today, one of whom previously pled guilty and was sentenced last week, and the other two of whom were charged earlier this month.”
According to the four criminal Informations filed in these federal cases, as well as other public documents and recent court proceedings.
The personal expenses related to Campana’s 2017 wedding included charges such as approximately $40,000 paid by sub-contractors to a catering hall in New Jersey, more than $13,000 to a photography studio, and over $23,000 to a travel agent for airline tickets purchased in connection with his honeymoon. Guzzone, meanwhile, received Super Bowl tickets worth almost $8,000. Each of the defendants evaded federal income tax on this bribery income, by failing to declare it on income tax returns for various years between 2010 and 2017.
In connection with the underlying bribery scheme, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office charged Olsen, Campana, Guzzone, Nigro, and 10 others in December 2018 with numerous felonies, including charges of conspiracy, commercial bribery, and money laundering. On Nov. 19, 2019, Campana pled guilty in the State court case 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.
Olson, 53, of Massapequa, New York, pled guilty on June 29 to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2011 through 2017. That charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, and an order of restitution.
Campana, 34, of Tuckahoe, New York, pled guilty to a tax evasion charge on Nov. 26, 2019, for the tax years 2014 thought 2017, and was sentenced last week, on July 24, to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution of $155,000 in unpaid taxes (which he has repaid), and a fine of $10,000.
Guzzone, 51, and Nigro, 59, both of Middletown, New Jersey, were each charged in criminal informations, respectively on July 14 and 16, 2020, with a single count of tax evasion. The charges against Guzzone pertained to the tax years 2010 through 2017, while the charges against Nigro pertained to 2011 through 2017. Those charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, and an order of restitution. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judges.
In addition, all four defendants have been charged in New York State Supreme Court for their participation in the underlying bribery scheme, where Campana has pled guilty in that case and is awaiting sentencing.