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Two Former Managers of National Grid Sentenced to Prison for Bribery and Kickback Scheme

National Grid managers pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and kickback

Two former managers for National Grid will serve prison sentences for their participation in a yearslong bribery-and-kickback scheme, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in New York.

Richard Zavada, 65, was sentenced to a year and one day in prison, fined $10,000 and ordered to forfeit $330,735. Patrick McCrann, 57, was sentenced to a year and one day of prison, fined $10,000 and ordered to forfeit $200,000.

They were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon after October 2021 guilty pleas to charges of violating the federal Travel Act. The two men took bribes and kickbacks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for steering no-bid contracts to a contractor who paid them bribes, federal prosecutors said in a statement issued after the two men were sentenced on Friday.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Pokorny said the “sentence metes out just punishment to these bid riggers who accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, including cash, international vacations, home improvements, and recreational vehicles.”

McCrann, of Selden, and Zavada, of Hicksville, were managers in the facilities department of the New York utility. Federal prosecutors said they steered contracts to “certain contractors” in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. One contractor, who was not identified by prosecutors, “secured more than $50 million in facility maintenance contracts from National Grid during the time that the contractor was paying bribes to the defendants.”

As managers, the two men had control over no-bid contracts valued at less than $50,000. The contractor understood that if bribes were not paid, the managers would award contracts to a competitor, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

In return for the bribes, the two men took steps to help the contractor win National Grid contracts. Federal prosecutors said the men offered favorable reviews of the contractor’s work.

The U.S. attorney further states the contractor paid McCrann and Zavada to “ensure that the defendants did not slow or stop disbursement of project funds to the Contractor, provide negative performance reviews regarding the Contractor’s work, or otherwise claim that the Contractor’s work did not meet contractual specifications.”

The bribes were paid in a variety of ways, prosecutors said, with payment coming as cash, recreational vehicles, home improvements, landscaping and overseas vacations. Federal agents seized approximately $300,000 in cash from a safe deposit box held by Zavada, the U.S. attorney said.

Three other former National Grid managers have pleaded guilty in the case. They are awaiting sentencing after admitting they accepted bribes from the contractor.