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Baytown man sentenced in barge repair kickback scheme

Special to The News

BEAUMONT – A 43-year-old Baytown man has been sentenced to prison for federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown said Wednesday.

Andres “Andy” Degollado pleaded guilty April 17 to wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone sentenced him Wednesday to 15 months in federal prison. Degollado was ordered to pay restitution of $70,000.

According to information presented in court, Degollado served as the operations manager for Sienna Shipyards, L.L.C., an inland barge repair facility located on the Sabine River in Orange County. Degollado was a salaried employee responsible for coordinating the work of employees, contractors and sub-contractors to perform various aspects of barge repair work.

From January to November 2014, Degollado, while working as operations manager for Sienna, devised and carried out a kickback scheme to defraud his employer by having a contractor bill or invoice Sienna for barge-cleaning work when no such work was ever performed.

According to company records, Sienna paid fraudulent invoices totaling about $192,250.00 for work that was not performed. As a result, Degollado received kick-backs from the contractor.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randall L. Fluke and Christopher T. Tortorice prosecuted it.