A South Carolina company will pay the government $667,087 to satisfy a civil judgment in a case involving kickbacks in the construction of Little Dell Dam.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson signed the judgment last week against Catawba Management Inc., ordering the company to pay double the amount it received in kickbacks.Catawba and its owner, Raymond Clement, pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the kickback scheme in 1994. In the criminal case, Clement admitted he solicited six illegal kickback payments from a Lehi subcontractor. Clement was sentenced to five years probation and fined $10,000.
In the civil case, the government sought double damages against Catawba under the federal Anti-Kickback Act. Federal prosecutors said Clement, an employee of Clement-Starnes Joint Venture, the prime contractor on the $30 million project, solicited illegal payments totaling $333,543 from the subcontractor.
The payments were made to Catawba and deposited in accounts controlled by Clement, according to prosecutors.
U.S. Attorney Paul Warner said the judgment is one of the first judicial rulings under civil provisions of the Anti-Kickback Act. He credited the win to his office's Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) program.
"The incentive for economic crime is money," Warner said. "As the coordinator of the ACE program, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Overby targets this incentive through the recovery of double or triple damages and other penalties, as the law allows."
Warner says the Catawba case should serve as a deterrent to those who would defraud the federal government.
"(Violaters) know they may face not only criminal penalties, but they may also have to pay back far more than just the ill-gotten gains," he said.