Prosecutors win more time in SCANA fraud case
By Jerry Bellune
A judge has given federal agents more time to investigate nuclear fraud allegations.
US Attorney Peter McCoy was allowed to postpone sentencing of former SCANA executive Stephen Byrne for admitted fraud in a $9 billion failed nuclear power fiasco.
McCoy asked for more time to investigate other potentially guilty parties in the fraud that cost SC Electric & Gas ratepayers more than $2 billion.
McCoy said the investigation will continue at least another year.
“The people of South Carolina continue to demand justice for those that knowingly perpetrated the nuclear construction debacle," said Tom Clements, who served as primary public interest intervenor with Friends of the Earth.
"We fully expect that all guilty parties will be charged on completion of the investigation and that they will face heavy fines and be sentenced to prison for lengthy terms.”
Ratepayers of Dominion Energy which bought SCANA are still on the hook for a large part of the failed project’s cost over the next 20 years, Clemens said.
Byrne, a former Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of SCANA and Irmo resident, admitted guilt for fraud in a court hearing June 23.
According to a court document in which he admitted guilt to “conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud,” Byrne agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
He has already agreed to forfeit $1 million and faces a 5-year prison sentence.
“If the federal attorney needs more time to extract evidence from Mr. Byrne and dig up proof of guilt by other parties, then the delay will be worth the wait,” said Clements.
McCoy indicated that the pre-sentencing report needs to be postponed as “additional targets” are being investigated. It is believed that former SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh, former SCANA CFO and later CEO Jimmy Addison and lawyers who may have enabled the fraud could be indicted.
It is not known if others, such as reactor contractor Westinghouse Electric, other vendors, reactor partner Santee Cooper and the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, could also be under investigation.