Green Star Trucking, the company owned by former Trotwood Mayor Joyce Sutton Cameron, was sentenced in federal court on Friday to pay a fine of $1,500 on one felony count of conspiracy to engage in mail fraud.
“For 31 years Green Star has been an anchor in the city of Dayton and a small business owner,” Sutton Cameron said in court on Friday. “This is definitely a stretch that I am going through of the known and the unknown. I would just like to say that I am so appreciative of the courts, and my attorney and all those people who have assisted me to get through this part of my journey.”
It is the fifth sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose in the Dayton region public corruption case announced in 2019 by federal prosecutors.
Green Star and Steve Rauch Inc. pleaded guilty in December in the case, which involved the two companies defrauding the city of Dayton using the city’s disadvantaged business contracting program.
The maximum penalty the companies faced was five years of probation and a fine of not more than $500,000.
In February Rose sentenced Steve Rauch Inc., owned by Germantown businessman Steve Rauch, to pay a $15,000 fine.
Green Star had argued that it should be fined no more than $1,500, according to a sentencing memorandum submitted by attorney Lawrence J. Greger. The memorandum argued that Steve Rauch Inc. was 90 percent culpable in the crime and so Green Star should only have to pay 10 percent of what Rauch’s company was fined.
Before sentencing Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Tabacchi agreed Green Star was far less culpable in the crime than Steve Rauch Inc. and said “the government does believe Green Star should receive a substantially less fine that Steve Rauch Inc.,” as well as no probation sentence.
On Friday Rose said he saw little chance that Green Star would commit another crime.
“And now because of this mistake, bad mistake, my understanding is based on the information that has been provided the business has seen a significant decrease in sales and business, there’s a suspension, ineligibility for certain types of contracts and it’s facing a number of complications, a number of procedural complications with regard to conducting this business,” Rose said.
In January the state moved to revoke Green Star’s Minority Business Enterprise and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity certifications that gave the company access to public contracts requiring disadvantaged business participation.
“All of Green Star’s certifications were revoked effective February 18,” said Melissa Vince, spokeswoman for the state department of administrative services. “They had been certified for the Minority Business Enterprise, Women Business Enterprise and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity programs. We have not received requests from them to become recertified in any of the programs.”
The December guilty pleas came after prosecutors agreed to dismiss all mail fraud charges filed in 2019 against Rauch, 65, Sutton Cameron, 72, and her husband James Cameron, 82.
Rauch, who also owns SRI and Rauch Trucking, and Sutton Cameron had pleaded not guilty to those charges but James Cameron never entered a plea.
The conspiracy charge the two companies pleaded guilty to involves a demolition contract Steve Rauch Inc. completed for the city of Dayton in 2014, according to the bill of information containing the charge.
Green Star Trucking did some work on that project. But Rauch and Sutton Cameron’s companies falsely claimed that Green Star had done work that it did not perform, allowing Rauch to fulfill the city’s requirement that disadvantaged businesses participate in city demolition contracts.
The court documents do not specify which project or how much money was involved. Rose said he did not sentence either company to pay restitution because the work was completed, so the city of Dayton did not lose money.
A Dayton Daily News investigation published in December 2019 found that Rauch used Green Star to meet minority contracting goals for nearly $4.7 million in city of Dayton demolition contracts between 2008 and 2016. The investigation also found that Green Star won work as a subcontractor on at least 34 public contracts since 2008.
Three other cases that were part of the federal investigation, which the FBI dubbed Operation Demolished Integrity, also related to city contracts, including ones requiring participation by disadvantaged, minority and other small businesses.
Three of those indicted were convicted and sentenced to prison: former Dayton City Commissioner Joey D. Williams, 55, former state Rep. Clayton Luckie, 57, and former Dayton city employee RoShawn Winburn, 47. Luckie served his term, Williams was released early last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Winburn was granted a delay to begin serving his term Sept. 6.
One case remains. Dayton businessman Brian Higgins faces trial on Aug. 2 on three counts of mail fraud, two counts wire fraud, one count of tampering with a witness and one count tampering with a witness with intent to retaliate. He pleaded not guilty.
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