An engineer involved in the construction of an Upstate airport faces 20 years in prison after being convicted of fraud. The U.S. Attorney’s office announced the conviction Thursday.
G. Martin Wynn was the project engineer for a Wilmington-based company, Talbert & Bright, that was lengthening the runway at Oconee Regional Airport in 2009. Part of his job consisted of turning in the proposed construction plans to both state and federal agencies for approval.
According to federal prosecutors, Wynn transferred the seal of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control from one set of approved plans to another that had not been approved. Included in those plans was a storm water runoff permit, which was supposed to estimate the impact any rain would have on the cleared land during construction. Wynn then gave the forged form to Oconee County, which approved the project thinking the state had already given permission.
The unapproved work led to massive erosion that ran off onto other properties and into nearby Lake Hartwell, resulting in environmental damage.
Wynn also faces a $250,000 fine for wire and mail fraud convictions.
Oconee County is also being sued by a Georgia company after federal officials forced the runway’s construction to stop during their investigation. In a March complaint, Plateau Excavation Inc., said county officials should pay them nearly $2 million for the delay. The lawsuit accuses the county of breaching its contract by not paying Plateau for the additional time, despite placing the company on “standby” while the project was halted.