1 other judge has to fix a 2-year prison sentence in a doomed nuclear weapons project

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COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – A former utility company who lied to installment payers and regulators costing billions of dollars after finding out that two nuclear reactors built in South Carolina were hopelessly behind schedule, faces a final judge on Monday before going to jail has to be 2 years.

Former SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh is asking a state judge to approve the ruling his attorneys negotiated with the prosecutor so that he can go to a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, which is a major hospital – not one, in December state institution – heard.

Marsh is the first executive to go to jail on the project that lasted nine years and never produced a watt of electricity. Prosecutors said he worked with investigators and spent at least seven days talking to the FBI.

A second former SCANA manager and an official from Westinghouse Electric Co., the prime contractor for the construction of two new reactors at the VC Summer plant north of Colombia, have also pleaded guilty. A second Westinghouse manager has been charged and is awaiting trial.

After Monday’s plea, prosecutors are expected to turn their attention to Westinghouse. While Marsh lied about the lack of progress in the last few years of building the reactors, Westinghouse knew about the problem well in advance and did not tell Marsh or any other SCANA executives, US Attorney Brook Andrews said when convicting Marsh on Thursday Federal court.

Federal attorneys and prosecutors agreed to a two-year sentence and asked Marsh to serve his time in a federal prison rather than a state facility.

Marsh pleaded guilty to e-mail and mail fraud conspiracy in federal court in February and in state court to gain property on false pretenses.

His conviction will take place in Spartanburg County, presided over by District Judge Mark Hayes.

Marsh and other executives’ actions have cost fee payers and investors more than $ 1 billion, authorities said in an 87-page lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2020 against him and a second executive.

SCANA and its subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas were ruined by debt and poor management and were bought by Dominion Energy of Virginia in 2019. State utility company Santee Cooper, which had a 45% stake in the project, ended up in debt of $ 4 billion despite SCANA controlling the project management.

Marsh has already paid $ 5 million in compensation. SCANA paid Marsh $ 5 million in 2017 when the utility abandoned the hopelessly late project.

Marsh read a brief statement in court on Thursday saying he accepted responsibility for the failure of the project despite being misled by Westinghouse.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t regret these nuclear power plants weren’t built for the people of South Carolina,” he said.

Marsh’s original plea deal was that the conviction would wait until the investigation was completed in order to ensure his full cooperation. But prosecutors relented after Marsh’s wife, who was 46, was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer.

The state approval applications have documented the history of the doomed nuclear project that began in 2008. Those records said Marsh never shied away from saying that the two reactors being built at the VC Summer site north of Columbia would be completed by the end of 2020 – a deadline that must be met around 1.4 Receiving $ billion in federal tax credits needed to keep the $ 10 billion project from overwhelming the utility.

Prosecutors said Marsh lied and made rosy predictions about the progress of the reactors that he knew were false in order to receive calls, presentations and press releases to keep investors happy and the company’s stock price in the To drive height.

U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis reluctantly accepted the deal despite believing prosecutors and Marsh’s attorneys made it sound like the executive branch made mistakes rather than deliberately misleading people for well over a year .

“Your crime was committed with a little more elegance and sophistication than many I see,” Geiger told Marsh on Thursday. “But you don’t get any credit for that.”

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Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.

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