An engineer who was involved in the construction of an Upstate airport was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison after being convicted of fraud. The U.S. Attorney’s office announced the sentence 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.
He was found guilty by a jury in May. He must also pay $118,000 in restitution.
“The actions of this defendant had serious environmental consequences at the Oconee County work site and on Lake Hartwell,” U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said in a statement, “Our hope is that this sentence will have a significant deterrent effect on those who would take similar illegal shortcuts in the future.”
Oconee County is currently facing a lawsuit from a separate Georgia construction firm over the issues in the case. Plateau Excavation is asking for $1.9 million in damages after the federal investigation halted construction. The suit claims county officials were negligent in reviewing the permit.