A Lynbrook man has been sentenced for his role in multi-million dollar bribery schemes while working for Consolidated Edison Corporation of New York, Inc. (Con Ed).
James Coffin, 56, is one of the 14 former Con Ed construction inspectors who were found guilty of charges related to schemes in which they solicited and accepted millions of dollars in kickbacks from contractors between 2000 and 2009 in connection with construction projects in Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester County, the United States Attorney's Office announced in a release.
Coffin was sentenced to 30 months' incarceration, $214,250 in forfeiture to the government and $132,800.65 in restitution to Con Ed.
Also sentenced were Nathaniel Ham, 59, and his brother-in-law William Shannon, 65, and Massapequa resident Brendan Maher, 32.
The sentences mark the culmination of an extensive multi-agency investigation led by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service; and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Office of Inspector General.
In the years following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Con Ed directed or took part in much of the subsurface construction in lower Manhattan, and received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds, mainly from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, to perform the work. In connection with these projects, Con Ed inspectors solicited bribes in exchange for approving contractor invoices that listed phantom pay items, allowing contractors to perform unnecessary additional work on the projects, and expediting Con Ed payments to the contractors. These schemes cost Con Ed millions of dollars, the release said.
The investigation became public with the first series of arrests of the Con Ed inspectors on January 14, 2009. Since that time, officials at Con Ed, especially those employed in its internal auditing unit, have provided assistance to the government’s investigation.
“After 9/11, these defendants were tasked with the responsibility of helping rebuild our city’s infrastructure. They focused instead on lining their own pockets at the expense of utility customers and residents of the metropolitan area,” United States Attorney Loretta Lynch said. “They have now been held to account.”
“The individuals sentenced in this investigation masterminded an unscrupulous financial scheme that essentially defrauded critical projects aimed at improving New York City’s infrastructure,” said James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in New York. “HSI will pursue those who attempt to conceal their illicit gains and compromise the people’s trust in public works projects.”