United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Former Community Action Senior Auditor Pleads Guilty to Bribery Involving Federal Funds
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Saul Lemoi, 37, a former senior energy auditor with the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) in Cranston, R.I., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence today to charges of bribery and to lying to federal agents. Lemoi pleaded guilty to accepting kickbacks of federal weatherization funds earmarked to make the homes of eligible low-income families more energy efficient, which were funneled to him through a company in which he had a financial interest.
Lemoi admitted to the court that from June 2006 through October 2007, in his capacity as senior auditor with CCAP, he sought and received authorization from an agency director to assign 41 federally funded weatherization projects totaling $75,002.45 to Weathertight Solution LLC. Lemoi failed to disclose to the director that he held an interest in Weathertight Solutions and that he stood to benefit financially from funds paid to the company. Portions of the federally funded payments paid to Weathertight Solutions by CCAP were provided to Lemoi.
Lemoi’s guilty plea to one count of bribery and one count of making false statements was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.
Lemoi admitted that in June 2006, he approached an individual and suggested starting a company to perform weatherization work, which he described as a “good business opportunity.” Lemoi informed the individual that in his capacity as an auditor at CCAP, he would assist in getting Weathertight Solutions to be one of the contractors used by CCAP to perform the easier weatherization projects.
As a result of the conversation with the defendant, the individual filed paperwork with the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s Office registering the company Weathertight Solutions as a limited liability company. Lemoi and the individual were listed as managers of the company.
Lemoi admitted to the court that i n many instances, he knowingly prepared invoices that did not accurately reflect the work that Weathertight Solutions had done on clients’ homes. Many of the invoices submitted billed for work that was not performed. On 33 occasions Lemoi conducted the post-work inspections on homes that Weathertight Solutions had worked on, verifying that Weathertight Solutions had completed the weatherization work in accordance with the invoices submitted. In many instances, the defendant’s representations were false and the work had not been completed. Several of the clients’ homes were never visited in order to determine if the work had been completed, although Lemoi indicated he had inspected the homes on the post-work inspection forms.
Lemoi also admitted to making false statements to federal investigators during a meeting on March 15, 2012, in the Office of the U.S. Attorney. At the meeting, Lemoi was asked if in late 2005 and early 2006, prior to his arrangement with Weathertight Solutions, he had engaged in similar conduct, whereby he secretly performed weatherization work for CCAP under the name of another company. Lemoi denied his involvement, when in fact he arranged for the submission of invoices under the name of a company whose owner, the same person who registered Weathertight Solutions as a business with the state of Rhode Island, funneled payments received from CCAP to Lemoi.
Lemoi faces up to 15 years in prison, a fine of $500,000 and a term of three years supervised release when he is sentenced on Aug. 23, 2012, by U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dulce Donovan.
The matter was investigated by agents from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF). President Obama established the interagency FFETF to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.