Former S.C. utility chief pleads guilty to fraud over nuclear plant
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A former SCANA CEO pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Prosecutors said Kevin B. Marsh admitted defrauding ratepayers while he oversaw and managed the company’s operations – including the construction of two reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station – so SCANA could obtain and retain rate increases imposed on customers and qualify for up to $2.2 billion in tax credits.
The plea follows a guilty plea by Stephen A. Byrne, former executive vice president of SCANA and former chief operating officer of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as an agreement with Dominion Energy that will provide at least $4 billion in ratepayer relief.
It also follows a previously announced settlement by SCANA and SCE&G on a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit.
The case arises out of the failed nuclear project at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville.
In 2008, SCANA and its subsidiary SCE&G announced their intention to build two new nuclear units with their minority partner, the South Carolina Public Service Authority, a state-owned power and water utility commonly known as Santee Cooper.
As evidence presented to the court showed, beginning in November 2011, Marsh was the highest-ranking official within SCANA.
After substantial delays and cost overruns with the reactors, Marsh conspired with others to defraud customers with misleading statements and omissions, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors said this includes concealing the truthful status of the failing mega-project and making false and materially misleading statements in late 2016 to regulators, the financial community and the general public.
In the plea agreement, Marsh agrees to cooperate fully with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. He also agrees to testify fully and truthfully before any grand juries.
On the federal charge, Marsh faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and supervised release of up to three years.
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