Aug. 21, 2006 – Prosecutors outlined charges against former Sen. Alicia Hansen and two businessmen Monday, saying they used political connections to fraudulently secure government contracts.
Hansen helped accountant Campbell Malone and contractor Ashley Andrews get $25,000 from the V.I. Legislature in 2002 for work the men never completed in exchange for a $1,000 campaign contribution, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Murphy.
"It was a scheme to defraud the Virgin Islands government out of money and the honest service of public officials," Murphy said during opening arguments of the trial in District Court on St. Thomas.
Andrews and Malone face charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, program fraud and making false claims against the government. Andrews was also charged with inducing conflict of interest.
Both men stood trial in July but the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Former gubernatorial aide Ohanio Harris was to be tried with the men but pleaded guilty to conspiracy and conflict of interest charges days before the July trial started. Hansen was charged with one count of conflict of interest.
Prosecutors allege that Harris, Andrews and Malone formed a shell company, Global Resources Management, and used political connections to win a $3.6 million, no-bid contract to repair St. Croix's ailing sewer system.
Murphy described in detail possible health hazards from the years of raw sewage spilling into the streets and harbors of St. Croix, a problem Global Resources Management had promised to fix.
"GRM got a contract by fraud," Murphy said. "The government was defrauded into signing the contract and then defendants Malone and Andrews submitted a fraudulent claim to the government."
Murphy also said Andrews had Gov. Charles Turnbull's ear, with whom he held at least one private meeting.
"The evidence will show that Ashley Andrews is the one who goes directly to the governor to get this contract," Murphy said.
When Turnbull voided the contract before authorizing work to begin, Andrews and Malone allegedly filed false claims for work they'd already done.
One part of the claim seeking government compensation listed Global Resource Management employees working more than 24 hours in a single day, Murphy said.
The territorial government never paid the claim.
Andrews and Malone also allegedly filed false asset statements while seeking a bond to insure their work.
Andrews' attorney, Stephen Brusch, said prosecutors were "nitpicking."
"The Virgin Islands government desperately wanted to fix these sewer systems," Brusch said. "Mr. Ashley Andrews put a team together to do these repairs."
Malone's attorney Leonard Francis said his client was not part of any scheme, but a private accountant who did no more than prepare financial statements for GRM.
Hansen's attorney Jomo Meade said the former senator had no vested interest in the company and did nothing more than "her diligent duty."
Also indicted was Hansen's husband, former Public Works Department employee Esdel Hansen.
District Court Judge James Giles, who is presiding over the current trial in St. Thomas, threw out charges against Esdel Hansen in July.
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