The news is out: [COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The executive who spent billions of dollars on two South Carolina nuclear plants that never generated a single watt of power is almost certain to spend time in prison.
Former SCANA Corp. CEO Kevin Marsh signed a deal Tuesday agreeing to plead guilty to felony fraud charges in federal and state court. In exchange, prosecutors said they agreed with Marsh’s lawyers to ask for 18 months to 36 months in prison — all spent in federal custody instead of a state prison, per Marsh’s request.
Marsh also will have to pay $5 million in restitution, with $3 million of it due before he is sentenced. SCANA had paid Marsh $5 million in 2017, the year the utility abandoned the hopelessly behind-schedule project in Fairfield County and the massive federal investigation began. Under the plea deal, Marsh will be sentenced once the investigation into the debacle ends.
Marsh admitted presenting false information in earning calls, presentations and press releases, as did former SCANA Executive Vice President Stephen Byrne, who pleaded guilty in July. They were trying to keep investors pumping money into the project and the company’s stock price up, prosecutors said. Their actions took more than $1 billion from the pockets of ratepayers and investors, authorities said in an 87-page Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit filed against them in February.]
They stole $1 billion, with a B, and have to pay only $5 million in restitution. Crime does pay.