A jury convicted a Louisiana man last month of eight counts of major fraud against the United States. Walter Cardin faces a sentence of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million for each offense. The jury heard evidence that Cardin, as safety manager for the Shaw Group (formerly Stone & Webster Construction), at Tennessee Valley Authority’s Brown’s Ferry Nuclear Site in Athens, Ala., provided false and misleading information about injuries at that facility as well as at TVA’s Sequoyah Nuclear Site in Soddy Daisy, Tenn., and TVA’s Watts Bar Nuclear Site near Spring City, Tenn.
The Shaw Group had a contract with TVA to provide maintenance and modifications to the three facilities and to provide construction for the Brown’s Ferry Unit Number 1 reactor restart. Cardin was convicted of generating false injury rates which were used by the Shaw Group to collect safety bonuses worth over $2.5 million from TVA. He was also convicted of providing the false numbers at the three plants in 2004 and 2005, and at the Brown’s Ferry and Sequoyah plants in 2006.
The jury heard evidence of over 80 injuries, including broken bones, torn ligaments, hernias, lacerations, and shoulder, back, and knee injuries, that were not properly recorded by Cardin. As part of a civil agreement filed with the United States in 2008, the Shaw Group paid back twice the amount of the ill-gotten safety bonuses. U.S. Attorney Bill Killian had this to say:
These convictions will put all Tennessee Valley Authority contractors on notice that criminal violations to maximize profits with TVA will not be tolerated in the Eastern District of Tennessee.
The case was investigated by the TVA-Office of Inspector General. This is just another example of corporate greed and the fraud that all too often accompanies that greed. The American people are sick and tired of being victims of corporate fraud relating to government contracts.
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