The St. Croix businessman at the center of a major corruption scandal over a $3.6 million sewer contract in 2003 was sentenced Wednesday to more than a decade in federal prison, according to local U.S. Attorney’s Office.
U.S. District Court Judge Juan Sanchez sentenced Ashley Andrews to 151 months in prison for the federal crimes of conspiracy to defraud the government, wire fraud, and program fraud.
Andrews was also sentenced to two years in prison for breaking V.I. laws against trying to defraud the V.I. Government and inducing a conflict of interest involving the payment of money.
The court ordered the two-year local sentence to run concurrently with the federal sentence, and ordered Andrews to pay a $17,500 fine and serve three years of supervised release after he gets out of jail.
In 2004 a grand jury indicted Andrews; Ohanio Harris, former special assistant to then-Gov. Charles Turnbull; former legislative post-auditor Campbell Malone and several others with forming a company called Global Resources Management for the sole purpose of obtaining a fraudulent $3.6 million government contract to repair St. Croix’s broken-down sewer system.
GRM had no assets, no construction experience, no equipment, no employees, and no experience in sewer repair work, according to the indictments. Andrews was founder and president of GRM.
Ohanio Harris pleaded guilty in March 2006, cooperated with prosecutors and was sentenced to one year in prison.
Andrews was convicted in 2006 of engaging in public corruption by inducing Harris to use his public position to obtain the contract.
Malone was also convicted, sentenced to four years in prison; his conviction and sentence have been upheld on appeal by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.
The government asked for a sentence long enough to act as a deterrent to other public officials.
“This case should send a clear message that those who defraud the government of the Virgin Islands, misuse federal monies for their personal gain, and undermine the public right to good and honest services, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Sharpe in a statement.