US military owner pleads guilty to fraud, will pay $ 65 million in fines and restitution


The US Department of Justice said it resolved investigations into communities Balfour Beatty, one of the largest private landowners in the US military, after pleading guilty Wednesday to one count of major fraud and agreeing to pay more than $ 65 million dollars in fines and restitution.

Balfour Beatty, who was under investigation for defrauding the US Air Force, Army and Navy, was not immediately available for comment. The company is a unit of UK infrastructure conglomerate Balfour Beatty Plc.

In 2019, Reuters reports described how Balfour Beatty employees tampered with maintenance documents at Air Force bases to help the company qualify for incentive bonus payments, citing five former employees who have said he tampered with files, company emails and internal Air Force communications. Soldiers and their families were exposed to asbestos, vermin, mold and raw sewage.

The reports sparked an investigation by the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations and the Inspector General’s Defense Criminal Investigation Service.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan accepted the company’s guilty plea on Wednesday and ordered it to pay more than $ 65 million, serve three years of probation and hire an independent compliance monitor for three years.

“Instead of quickly repairing US military housing as required, Balfour Beatty Communities lied about the repairs to pocket millions of dollars in performance bonuses,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a press release. “This pervasive fraud was a consequence of Balfour Beatty Communities’ shattered corporate culture.”

Stacy Cabrera, a former housing manager at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, who told Reuters she felt pressured to manipulate records to meet bonus goals, pleaded guilty to major fraud in April. Rick Cunefare, a former regional manager for Balfour Beatty who oversaw bases in Oklahoma, Texas and other states, pleaded guilty earlier this year to major fraud.

According to court documents, Balfour Beatty Communities, headquartered in Malvern, Pa., Operated privatized military housing communities at 21 Air Force, 18 Navy and 16 Army bases across the United States, in which tens of thousands of servicemen and their families, the Justice Department press release said.

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