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Four Charged with Fraud, Conspiracy, Money Laundering and Embezzlement

Four individuals and a corporation are facing federal charges for conspiring to steer West Virginia Divisions of Highways projects to a South Carolina business in exchange for bribes and kickbacks.

Bruce E. Kenney, II, Andrew P. Nichols, James Travis Miller, and Mark R. Whitt have been charged in a scheme which cause $1.5 million worth of highway work to be routed to the Dennis Corporation, a Columbia, South Carolina engineering consulting firm. Bayliss and Ramey, Inc., a Putnam County highway electrical contractor, has also been charged.

Kenney, age 60, of Norfolk, Virginia, is alleged to have used his position in the Traffic Engineering Division of the Division of Highways to bypass normal state procedures and funnel structure inspection work to the Dennis Corporation in exchange for covert payments totaling nearly $200,000. Kenney was charged by Information on Wednesday, November 17, with honest services wire fraud and money laundering, along with obstructing justice and making false statements.

Miller, age 40, of Hurricane, West Virginia, also worked for the Division of Highways before leaving to work for the Dennis Corporation. He is alleged to have delivered covert payments to Kenney in exchange for official actions that were done in favor of Dennis Corporation. Miller was charged by Information on Wednesday with money laundering conspiracy.

Whitt, 52, of Winfield,West Virgiia, was the president and owner of Bayliss and Ramey, inc., which was awarded the statewide signal maintenance contract in 2009. Whitt allegedly used the contract to funnel construction work to Dennis Corporation. He benefited financially for helping to conceal the illegal flow of funds from the Division of Highways to Dennis Corporation. Whitt was charged by Information today with wire fraud conspiracy.

Bayliss and Ramey, Inc. submitted invoices with a twenty percent mark-up to ensure it would be compensated for its role in the scheme. This mark-up by Bayliss and Ramey caused the State of West Virginia to pay a higher price than it should have for engineering services. The corporation was charged by Information with wire fraud conspiracy.

The criminal conduct in this matter incurred from 2008 until 2014. The investigation began in September 2015 when information about the scheme was provided to the U.S. Attorney’s office.