Former construction executive sentenced to 46 months In prison for tax evasion and bribery scheme

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Ronald Olson, a former vice-president and deputy operation manager at Turner Construction Company, has been sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 46 months in prison for tax evasion related to a bribery scheme.

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a J statement that Olson evaded taxes on more than $1.5 million in bribes he received from building sub-contractors, in connection with a number of building projects undertaken for Bloomberg LP. OLSON previously pled guilty before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, who imposed sentenced on June 15.

In related proceedings, co-conspirator Anthony Guzzone, a former director of global construction at Bloomberg, was sentenced on Jan. 19, by  Lewis J. Liman to 38 months in prison, for evading taxes on more than $1.45 million in the same scheme; Michael Campana, a subordinate construction manager at Bloomberg, was sentenced on July 24, 2020, by Denise L. Cote to 24 months in prison, for evading taxes on more than $420,000.

In addition, Vito Nigro, a construction manager at Turner, has pled guilty to evading taxes on more than $1.8 million in bribes that he received in the same scheme, and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 1, before U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres.

“Bribery and tax evasion impose hidden, unfair costs on law-abiding customers, employers, and taxpayers,” Strauss said in the statement.  The type of criminality uncovered in this case undermines a just society.  Appropriately, Ronald Olson has been sentenced to prison for his crime.”

According to the four criminal Informations filed in these federal cases, as well as other public documents and recent court proceedings:

Between 2011 and 2017, Olson was vice-president and deputy operations manager at Turner, a construction firm that performed various building projects in New York City and elsewhere for Bloomberg, a global financial firm. Throughout those years, Guzzone oversaw such building projects at Bloomberg, while Nigro worked at Turner as a subordinate to Olson.

Beginning in 2013, Campana was also a construction manager at Bloomberg, and a subordinate to Guzzone. 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.

In all, the defendants have pled guilty to failing to pay taxes, between 2010 and 2017, on bribes exceeding $5.1 million. The defendants received bribes in various forms, including millions of dollars in cash, as well as construction projects on their individual homes and properties, and the direct payment of personal expenses.

For Olson, personal expenses included hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of repeated renovations and improvement projects at his home on Long Island and his beach house on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, which were fraudulently documented through a series of false invoices. Projects included home improvements, the cutting and installation of marble, gardening, and the repaving of Olson’s driveway.

Olson also used a sham lease for his beach house, through which he falsely characterized $20,000 per month in bribe payments as rent. Other payments included Guzzone’s receipts of several sets of Super Bowl tickets, worth approximately $8,000 per ticket; and Campana’s receipt of charges related to his 2017 wedding, such as approximately $40,000 paid by sub-contractors 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.

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.

Olson, 54, of Massapequa, New York, pled guilty on July 29, 2020, to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2011 through 2017. In addition to the prison term, OLSON was sentenced today to three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $661,519.57 in unpaid taxes and interest.

Guzzone, 52, of Middletown, New Jersey, pled guilty on September 29, 2020, to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2010 through 2017. He was sentenced on January 19, 2021, to 38 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and restitution of $574,005.33 in unpaid taxes and interest.

Campana, 35, of Tuckahoe, New York, pled guilty to a tax evasion charge on November 26, 2019, for the tax years 2014 thought 2017, and was sentenced on July 24, 2020, to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution of $155,000 in unpaid taxes, and a fine of $10,000.

Nigro, 60, of Middletown, New Jersey, pled guilty on October 28, 2020, to a single count of tax evasion for the tax years 2011 through 2017. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 1. The charges against Nigro 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.

Strauss praised the excellent work of the Internal Revenue Service.

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