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Probation Ends $900K Bid Rigging Case

Friday, October 4, 2013

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Two defendants will pay nearly $200,000 in restitution, but avoid prison terms, for their roles in a $900,000 kickback scheme involving several Midwestern contractors.

The sentencing of Thomas Villirillo, 49, of Olathe, KS, and Jaime Grimsley, 33, of Overland Park, KS, closes the book on the decade-old case, federal prosecutors announced.

Each defendant will serve five years of probation, under sentences imposed in September in U.S. District Court in Missouri. In addition, Villirillo must pay $105,560 in restitution; Grimsley, the wife of one of the scheme's ringleaders, must pay $79,167.

Management Fraud

Villirillo pleaded guilty Jan. 3 to participating in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud. He owned a company called Reliable Construction, which fulfilled construction contracts for CRES Management, of Kansas City, MO.

Aimco community
Wikimedia Commons / Architecturist

Construction directors for property management firms took in nearly $900,000 from contractors seeking contracts. The firms had no knowledge of the scam.

Between June 2008 and May 2009, prosecutors said, Villirillo conspired to pay $105,560 in kickbacks to co-conspirators Christopher Grimsley, 43, of Overland Park (Jaime Grimsley’s husband); and Jo Den Napper, 40, of Lenexa, KS.

Christopher Grimsley and Napper were directors of construction for Aimco, a nationwide property management firm based in Denver, CO, and, later, CRES Management. As such, they were in charge of procuring bids for renovating apartment complexes. In exchange for the kickbacks, Christopher Grimsley and Napper agreed to rig bids in Villirillo’s favor.

Among other things, Villirillo used his credit card to pay for hotel accommodations in Las Vegas for the Grimsleys in exchange for granting his bids to complete construction work.

Neither Aimco nor CRES Management had any knowledge of the illegal activities, prosecutors noted.

10 Years of Kickbacks

Christopher Grimsley is serving a 41-month federal prison sentence after pleading guilty to mail fraud in 2011. Prosecutors say he accepted $538,340 in kickbacks from various contractors in the Kansas City area from 2003 to 2009. In exchange, he rigged bids without his employer's knowledge.

Napper, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud, is serving a prison term of one year and one day for accepting $355,749 in kickbacks from various contractors from 2004 to 2009. In exchange, he also rigged bids without his employer's knowledge.

CRES Management property
CRES Management

The ringleaders of the contract kickback scam worked for property management firms, which had no knoweldge of their activities, federal prosecutors say.

Jaime Grimsley pleaded guilty in May to filing false tax returns. In 2004, she formed a company called Geronimo Consultants, which she later admitted was used to deposit the kickback payments to her husband. Between 2005 and 2008, the Grimsleys filed false tax returns, omitting kickback income of $217,981, for a tax loss of $79,167.

Other Defendants

Also involved in the scheme, according to the Department of Justice, were:

  • Tim Rowland, 45, of Platte City, MO, who is serving five years of probation and paying $298,765 in restitution. Rowland owned ATNJ, a construction company that fulfilled contracts for Aimco Apartment Management. He admitted paying $298,765 in kickbacks to Christopher Grimsley and Napper from 2004 to 2009.
  • Chris Childers, 44, of Olathe, KS, who is serving one year of probation and paying $179,570 in restitution. Childers owned All State Renovations, which fulfilled construction contracts for CRES Management. He admitted paying $179,570 in kickbacks to Chrstopher Grimsley and Napper between 2004 and 2009 in exchange for contracts.
  • Bernie Belcher, 57, of Olathe, Kan., who is serving five years of probation and paying $201,223 in restitution for kickbacks to Grimsley and Napper, in exchange for gaining contracts for Belcher's company, All State Roofing.

The cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Linda Parker Marshall and William L. Meiners. They were investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General.


Tagged categories: Bidding; Commercial contractors; Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Contracts; Enforcement; Laws and litigation; Maintenance + Renovation; Renovation; Roofing contractors

Comment from Gregory Stoner, (10/5/2013, 10:20 AM)

Better late than never? What about the adverse effects to local contractors that played by the rules. What new systems are being put into place to reduce the possibility or at least catch wrong doing earlier.

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