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Two utility company managers sentenced for bribery and kickbacks

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Eastern District of New York


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, May 6, 2022

Two Former Managers of National Grid Sentenced to Prison for Bribery and Kickback Scheme

Defendants Took Bribes and Kickbacks Worth Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Exchange for Steering Lucrative Contracts

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Patrick McCrann and Richard Zavada, two former managers in the facilities department of the New York utility company National Grid, were sentenced by United States District Judge Carol Bagley Amon for their participation in a years-long bribery and kickback scheme.  Zavada was sentenced to a year and one day in prison, with a $10,000 fine and $330,735 forfeiture and McCrann was sentenced to a year and one day of prison, with a $10,000 fine and $200,000 forfeiture.  The defendants each pleaded guilty to a violation of the Travel Act in October 2021. 

Carolyn Pokorny, First Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the sentences.

“Today’s sentence metes out just punishment to these bid riggers who accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, including cash, international vacations, home improvements, and recreational vehicles,” stated First Assistant United States Attorney Pokorny.  “This Office will continue to root out corruption that undermines the integrity of competitive bidding in the procurement process.”

McCrann and Zavada were National Grid managers employed in the facilities department, who steered contracts to certain contractors in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.  One contractor (the “Contractor”) secured more than $50 million in facility maintenance contracts from National Grid during the time that the Contractor was paying bribes to the defendants.  As managers, the defendants had the authority to approve “no-bid” contracts valued at less than $50,000.  The Contractor understood that if it did not pay bribes, these defendants would award National Grid’s work to the Contractor’s competitors.  In exchange for the bribe payments, the defendants also took various steps to assist the Contractor in obtaining contracts from National Grid, including, among other things, offering favorable reviews of the Contractor’s work. The Contractor paid bribes to ensure that the defendants did not slow or stop disbursement of project funds to the Contractor, provide negative performance reviews regarding the Contractor’s work, or otherwise claim that the Contractor’s work did not meet contractual specifications. 

The illicit payments to the defendants took multiple forms, including cash, the purchase of recreational vehicles, home improvements, landscaping and overseas vacations.  As part of the investigation, agents recovered approximately $300,000 in cash from a safe deposit box held by Zavada. 

Three other former National Grid managers, Devraj Balbir, Ricardo Garcia and Jevan Seepaul, have previously entered pleas of guilty to accepting bribes from the Contractor and are awaiting sentence. 

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Turner Buford and Artie McConnell are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants: 

Patrick McCrann
Age:  57
Selden, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-467 (CBA)

Richard Zavada
Age:  65
Hicksville, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-468 (CBA)

Link:

DOJ Press Release

Categories: Anti-Corruption Bribery Department of Justice (DOJ) Updates Kickbacks Pleas and Verdicts

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