Feds File Bill of Information Against Former B&B Execs
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Federal prosecutors have filed a bill of information against two former executives of a local construction firm, alleging the pair perpetrated a scheme to defraud the company of nearly $1.6 million.
Philip M. Beshara, former president of B&B Contractors and Development Inc., and former company treasurer Samuel J. DeCaria are each accused of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland.
Prosecutors allege that between March 2006 and September 2016, Beshara and DeCaria engaged in a conspiracy to defraud B&B Construction Inc. of $1,599,598 and collect another $345,367 from inflated invoices from subcontractors.
Both defendants have waived indictment and have foregone the grand jury process.
The government alleges that Beshara, as B&B president, would issue, or cause others, including DeCaria, to issue checks drawn from the company’s account at First National Bank. Beshara would either cash the checks or deposit, or cause others to deposit, the checks into his personal bank account, court documents say. These checks, prosecutors clarify, were not part of Beshara’s salary or employment at B&B.
According to the bill of information, prosecutors show 44 transactions between March 7, 2008 and June 14, 2016 totaling $1,599,598.95 that transferred to Beshara.
Prosecutors also allege that Beshara oversaw invoices submitted by subcontractors that worked on construction projects managed by B&B. According to the government, Beshara “would cause others to inflate subcontractors’ invoices” so that those contractors would overcharge B&B. Beshara would then have those subcontractors kick back to him a portion of the inflated amount, the court filing says.
The government shows 49 transactions between March 3, 2006 and Feb. 5, 2016 where Beshara received a total of $345,367 from inflated invoices.
DeCaria, as treasurer, is also charged because he managed the financial accounts and facilitated the scheme, prosecutors say.
Beshara emerged as a central figure in the state’s prosecution four years ago of developer Dominic Marchionda, former Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone, and former Youngstown Finance Director David Bozanich on corruption charges.
The indictment, filed in 2018, mentioned several “John Does” involved in the case. John Does 1 and 3 were subsequently identified as Beshara and DeCaria.
Another entity, named as “Company 1” was later revealed as B&B.
Beshara testified in 2020 that he gave Bozanich $20,000 in an envelope at a restaurant in 2009. At the time, B&B served as the general contractor on the Flats at Wick project and Marchionda was the developer.
The city subsequently awarded the project a $1.2 million development grant from its water/wastewater fund.
Bozanich pleaded guilty in July 2020 to two counts of unlawful enrichment of a public official and two felony counts of bribery and tampering with records.
None of those counts were related to the alleged $20,000 payment or Beshara’s testimony, since Judge Maureen Sweeney ordered his testimony stricken from the court record.
Bozanich was sentenced to a year in prison.
Marchionda also used B&B and Beshara for the Erie Terminal project downtown. Marchionda pleaded guilty to four counts of records tampering in July 2020 and received five years probation.
Earlier that year, Sammarone pleaded to reduced charges of two counts of tampering with records. He received five years probation.
In 2017 and 2018, B&B filed civil complaints in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court against Beshara and other former employees, accusing them of theft, records tampering and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Those lawsuits were settled in 2020, allowing the company to continue as a going concern, says Martin Desmond, B&B’s counsel.
“The company is doing very well,” Desmond said. “It’s back on its feet.”
Desmond said B&B, now based in Liberty Township, is pleased to see this ordeal finally end. “It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “The company is grateful to have this last chapter coming to a close so they can go forward with business.”
He commended the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their hard work.
“It’s cleared their reputation. This was the result of some greedy individuals” Desmond says of B&B. “The company was never involved in any of this. They’re ready to see justice served and move forward.”
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.