A fourth federal businessman faces criminal charges in a federal investigation into a failed multibillion-dollar project to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina, authorities said Wednesday.
Ff efri A. Benjamin was a former senior vice president at Westinghouse Electric Co., the main contractor for the construction of two new reactors at the VC Summer plant. South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. The parent company, SCANA Corp., and state-owned utility Santee Cooper, spent nearly $ 10 billion on the project before construction halted after Westinghouse went bankrupt in 2017.
According to the indictment, he is now facing numerous charges of fraud.
Benjamin, who oversaw all of Westinghouse’s nuclear projects, received information in 2016-2017 that the two VC Summer reactors were behind schedule.
But he repeatedly told SCANA and Santee Cooper that the project was scheduled to hide the actual construction schedule from utilities, according to the indictment.
He was fired from Westinghouse in March 2017, shortly before the company filed for bankruptcy.
The VC Summer project collapsed many lawsuits, some payers who said that the company’s management knew that the project was doomed to “mislead consumers” and regulators, because they mediated a number of interest rate hikes. The failure cost billions on payers, investors, and nearly 6,000 people lost their jobs.
If convicted, Benjamin could face up to 20 years in prison and a $ 5,000,000 fine.
Three top executives have already pleaded guilty during a federal multi-year fraud investigation, all awaiting a verdict as they co-operate with investigators.
Former CEO of SCANA Corp. Stephen Byrne agreed last summer tell investigators everything he knows about the lies, the scams, SCANA, his subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas, which is being used by regulators to keep interest rates high, and investor support.
Former SCANA CEO Qin Marsh signed the petition allegations of serious fraud in November.
And Carl Churchman, another Westinghouse official, pleaded guilty for lying to the federal authorities in June.