Bribes, false invoices alleged in scheme involving Coca-Cola maintenance manager and two Muncie contractors

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A former Coca-Cola maintenance manager and two Muncie men have been indicted in a scheme where they allegedly paid bribes and filed false invoices for construction projects in four states.

The men are Coca-Cola maintenance manager Clythell Branson; his uncle, Dejuan Branson; and Adrian Kirtz, co-owner of Taylor Construction in Muncie, says a federal indictment in the U.S. District Court of Southern Indiana.

The indictment says Clythell Branson approached his uncle to bid on construction projects at a Coca-Cola facility in Lenexa, Kansas. The uncle referred Clythell Branson to Kirtz to perform the project.

From early 2014 to 2016, Clythell Branson assisted Kirtz in filing false bids and invoices on projects in Kansas, Tennessee, Illlinois and Arkansas. The bids included secret kickbacks to the Bransons, the indictment says.

From March 2014 through January 2017, Coca-Cola paid Taylor Construction more than $5 million for projects including $1.5 million in kickbacks to the Bransons, court documents said. DB Quality Construction owner Dejuan Branson, allegedly kept half of the funds, with the other half going to his nephew.

The three men have been charged with money laundering and wire fraud.

Officials said Coca-Cola was unaware of the scheme.

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