Grand jury indicts Beaumont electrical contractor with fraud

By David Yates | May 16, 2011

A federal grand jury recently returned a 37-count indictment charging a Beaumont electrical contractor with defrauding the Beaumont Independent School District.

In February, the Southeast Texas Record reported that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 479 filed a prevailing wage lawsuit against BISD and several other entities for work union members performed on the Willie Ray Smith Middle School construction project in 2009.

Calvin Gary Walker, owner of Walker's Electric Co., was listed among the defendants accused of not paying electricians the prevailing wage, as required by Texas law.

On May 4, a federal grand jury charged Walker, 50, with three counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud, five counts of interstate transfer of funds by fraud, 18 counts of fraud in connection with organizations which receive federal funds and five counts of money laundering involving transactions greater than $10,000, according to the indictment, which was unsealed May 16.

"From ... September 2008 to December 2010 ... Walker knowingly devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud and to deceive the Beaumont independent School District by the submission of false and fraudulent invoices for electrical supplies and materials never purchased," the indictment states.

The indictment further alleges that on at least thirteen different electrical projects, which includes the Regina Howell and South Park campuses, Walker submitted 16 invoices containing inflated amounts of the costs of materials used in the projects totaling more than $3 million.

"As a result of said scheme and artifice to defraud, Calvin Gary walker, defendant, received approximately $3,700,000 or more in funds from BISD in excess of the actual costs incurred and the related ten percent mark-up, causing a loss to BISD of the same amount," the indictment states.

According to a press release from the office of US Attorney John M. Bales,
Eastern District of Texas, Walker, if convicted, faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each of the wire and mail fraud violations and up to 10 years for each of the interstate transfer, fraud in connection with federally funded organizations and money laundering violations.

Walker is to be summoned for an initial appearance to set bond or other conditions of release.

The case is assigned to US District Judge Thad Heartfield.

Criminal case No. 1:11-CR-67

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