Former SCANA CEO Sentenced to Two Years for Defrauding Ratepayers in Connection with Failed Nuclear Construction Project
Acting United States Attorney M. Rhett DeHart announced today that Kevin B. Marsh, 66, former SCANA Corporation (SCANA) Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors, was sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Evidence presented to the Court showed that Marsh intentionally defrauded ratepayers while overseeing and managing SCANA’s operations – including the construction of two reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station – so the company could obtain and retain rate increases imposed on its rate-paying customers and qualify for up to $2.2 billion in tax credits. In late 2016, confronted with information that the project was delayed and that the tax credits were at risk, Marsh and others withheld that information from regulators in an effort to keep the project going. Marsh’s false and materially misleading statements, as well as other false and materially misleading statements made by his coconspirators, allowed SCANA to obtain and retain rate increases imposed on SCANA’s rate-paying customers.
“Due to this fraud,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DeHart. “an $11 billion nuclear ghost town, paid for by SCANA investors and customers, now sits vacant in Jenkinsville, S.C. Hopefully, this prosecution will deter other corporate fraud in the future.”
“Kevin Marsh deceived regulators and customers to financially benefit SCANA,” said Susan Ferensic, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Columbia Field Office. “Unfortunately, Marsh’s and other executive’s actions resulted in South Carolinians bearing the financial brunt of the failed Summer Nuclear Station. This sentence should serve as a reminder to any corporation and their executives that there is a price to pay for those who conspire to commit fraud.”
According to evidence presented to the Court, Marsh has no prior criminal history, and has cooperated with federal and state investigators for more than a year in the ongoing investigation into criminal wrongdoing related to the V.C. Summer nuclear project. Marsh’s sentence reflects credit for his assistance in the ongoing investigation and prosecution of wrongdoing related to the failed nuclear construction project.
Marsh is the first defendant in the case to be sentenced in the investigation. The United States Attorney’s Office has additionally obtained felony guilty pleas from Stephen Byrne, former Executive Vice President of SCANA and former Chief Operating Officer of South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), and Carl Churchman, former Westinghouse Electric Corporation Vice President and the Project Director of the V.C. Summer Nuclear project. The United States Attorney’s Office has also executed cooperation agreements with Dominion Energy and Westinghouse Electric Company, which together provide over $4 billion in ratepayer relief; and it has charged Jeffrey Benjamin, former Westinghouse Electric Company Senior Vice President, in a sixteen-count felony criminal indictment.
United States District Judge Mary Lewis sentenced Marsh to 24 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. Judge Lewis also imposed a fine of $200,000. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Marsh paid $5 million in federal forfeiture prior to his sentencing.
This sentencing is the result of an exhaustive and multi-year joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Brook Andrews, Winston Holliday, Emily Limehouse, and Special Assistant United States Attorney John O’Halloran are prosecuting the case.