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Ex-CEO who oversaw doomed nuclear project sentenced

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:36 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2021 at 12:56 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - An executive who lied to regulators about two South Carolina nuclear plants that never generated a watt of power has been sentenced to federal prison.

United States District Judge Mary Lewis sentenced former SCANA Corp. CEO Kevin Marsh, 66, to 24 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart. 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.

Marsh pleaded guilty in February to federal conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He also pleaded guilty to a state grand jury indictment on a charge of obtaining signature or goods by false pretense over $10,000.

Evidence presented in court showed Marsh intentionally defrauded SCANA customers while overseeing and managing the company’s operations, including the construction of two reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear station so that the company could obtain and retain rate increases on its customers and apply for up to $2.2 billion in tax credits, a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office states.

“Due to this fraud, an $11 billion nuclear ghost town, paid for by SCANA investors and customers, now sits vacant in Jenkinsville, S.C.,” DeHart said. “Hopefully, this prosecution will deter other corporate fraud in the future.”

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, prosecutors said. Marsh’s sentence reflects credit for his assistance in the ongoing investigation and prosecution of wrongdoing related to the failed nuclear construction project.

Marsh’s federal and state sentences will be served concurrently.

His plea agreement states if Marsh fully complies with the agreement and his cooperation obligations, his sentence will be 10 years in prison, provided that upon the service of 24 months incarceration, the balance will be suspended upon the service of three years’ probation.

Marsh’s lawyers said in court papers that his wife of 46 years has incurable breast cancer and he wants to serve his time now so he might be able to care for her later.

Marsh is the first executive to be sentenced to prison for the nuclear project debacle.

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, 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.

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