A contractor involved with a failed nuclear power plant construction project allegedly made some nice cash in a kickback scheme that involved tickets to sporting events. And, like most alleged illegal kickback schemes, the contractor got caught.
According to a court filing in a lawsuit filed by the United States Government, Wise Services Inc. submitted nearly 500 fake invoices during construction of a Savannah River nuclear facility. The South Carolina project was ended in 2018 and won’t be finished.
The government said in the suit that the kickbacks for the submission of fake invoices to project manager CB&I AREVA MOX Services LLC included tickets to the Masters, NASCAR races and college football events. And even Yeti coolers! From the State:
“From 2013 through 2014, Wise paid kickbacks to MOX’s officials totaling at least $52,000. These kickbacks consisted of things of value such as cash, gift cards, YETI coolers, sunglasses, mobile phones, NASCAR tickets, Masters Golf Tournament tickets, college football tickets, firearms, and hunting supplies,” according to the DOJ lawsuit.
The company running the construction project knew the invoices were faked but submitted them anyway, the lawsuit says. The lawsuit says Wise stole more than $150,000 with the fake invoices.
The project ended up costing over $15 billion before the Department of Energy shut it down. So while $150,000 is nothing to sneeze at (if made legally, of course), it’s nothing in the grand scheme of a 10-figure project. Maybe that’s why Wise Services Inc. thought it could get away with the fake invoicing?
Project ended in 2018
Construction on the facility ended in the fall of 2018 after going on for 10 years. The project was initially estimated to cost $6 billion but those projections ballooned as construction carried on. According to the MOX website, the facility would have converted “surplus nuclear weapons-grade plutonium into safe, stable fuel for civilian nuclear power generation” and would have produced “enough electricity to power roughly 4,500 homes for three years with one fuel assembly.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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