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Case Number: 3:21-cr-00278-MGL
Court: United States District Court for the District of South Carolina (Richland County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office
Description: Columbia, South Carolina making false statements charge criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant, Carl Dean Churchman.
Churchman, a former Westinghouse Electric Corporation Vice President and the Project Director of the V.C. Summer Nuclear project, and was charged with making a false statement to an FBI agent during the investigation of the failed nuclear project at the V.C. Summer site.
Churchman was interviewed by FBI Special Agent Aaron Hawkins in May 2019. During the interview, Agent Hawkins asked Churchman several questions about Westinghouse’s reporting of V.C. Summer’s completion dates to SCANA and Santee Cooper (“the owners”) in early 2017.
Churchman told Agent Hawkins that Westinghouse’s executives did not consult him prior to reporting the completion dates to the owners. Churchman claimed that he did not know the dates before they were reported and that he did not know who made the decision to report the dates to the owners.
However, emails and other documents obtained during the investigation of the failed nuclear project at the V.C. Summer site revealed that Churchman lied to Agent Hawkins during the May 2019 interview. An internal Westinghouse email chain establishes that Churchman received and discussed the dates in early 2017.
Additionally, detailed notes from an early 2017 meeting with Westinghouse executives by SCANA’s Executive Vice President Steve Byrne revealed that Churchman reported the completion dates to SCANA on February 14, 2017, directly contradicting the statements Churchman made to Agent Hawkins.
On May 19, 2021, Churchman sat down for another interview with the FBI. At the beginning of the interview, Churchman acknowledged that his previous statements were untrue.
Today’s plea is the third stemming from the investigation of the failed nuclear project. Byrne previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and former SCANA Chief Executive Officer and former Chairman of its Board of Directors Kevin Marsh pled guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
Today’s plea also follows a previously announced agreement with Dominion Energy that will, over time, provide at least four billion dollars of South Carolina ratepayer relief; and it follows a previously announced settlement by SCANA and SCE&G on a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit charging them with defrauding investors by making false and misleading statements about the nuclear plant expansion that was ultimately abandoned.
In the plea agreement, Churchman agrees to cooperate fully with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. He also agrees to testify fully and truthfully before any grand juries until the investigation and prosecution in the criminal acts that occurred in relation to the failed V.C. Summer Nuclear plant expansion are complete.
On the federal charge, Churchman faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, supervised release of up to 3 years, and a $100 special assessment.
United States District Judge Mary G. Lewis accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Churchman after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the United States Probation Office.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jim May, Brook Andrews, Winston Holliday, Emily Limehouse, and Jason Peavy along with Special Assistant United States Attorney John O’Halloran, a lawyer with the Securities and Exchange Commission, prosecuted the case.
STATEMENTS OR ENTRIES GENERALLY in violation of 18:1001, which provides:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.
(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party's counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—
(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
(2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, comm
Outcome: 06/10/2021 13 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Honorable Mary Geiger Lewis: Arraignment as to Carl Dean Churchman (1) Count 1 held on 6/10/2021. Defendant waives reading of Information. Court Reporter Carleen Horenkamp. CJA Time 10:00-10:15. (mdea ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)
06/10/2021 14 WAIVER OF INDICTMENT by Carl Dean Churchman (mdea ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)
06/10/2021 15 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Honorable Mary Geiger Lewis: Plea Hearing as to Carl Dean Churchman held on 6/10/2021 Plea Agreement Accepted Carl Dean Churchman (1) Guilty Count 1. Bond to be addressed by USMJ. Court Reporter Carleen Horenkamp. CJA Time 10:00-10:45. (mdea ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)
06/10/2021 16 GUILTY PLEA ENTERED as to Carl Dean Churchman (mdea ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)
06/10/2021 17 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Shiva V Hodges: Bond Hearing as to Carl Dean Churchman held on 6/10/2021; defendant present w/counsel; USA request a personal recognizance bond; the court sets bond at $25,000 unsecured w/conditions; the defendant surrenders his passport to USPO; advice and penalties explained; defendant continued on bond. Court Reporter: Carleen Horenkamp. (ttil, ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)
06/10/2021 18 ORAL MOTION for Bond by USA as to Carl Dean Churchman. (ttil, ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)
06/10/2021 19 ORAL ORDER granting 18 Oral Motion for Bond as to Carl Dean Churchman. Signed by Magistrate Judge Shiva V Hodges on 6/10/2010.(ttil, ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)
06/10/2021 20 Unsecured Bond Entered as to Carl Dean Churchman in amount of $ 25,000. (ttil, ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)
06/10/2021 22 ORDER Setting Conditions of Release as to Carl Dean Churchman. Signed by Magistrate Judge Shiva V Hodges on 6/10/2021.(ttil, ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)
06/10/2021 24 FRCrP 5(f) DISCLOSURE ORDER as to Carl Dean Churchman. Signed by Honorable Mary Geiger Lewis on 6/10/2021.(mdea ) (Entered: 06/10/2021)