A trial date for all ten defendants accused of timecard fraud at Colorado-based CH2M Hill Hanford Group Inc. is tentatively set for March 10, 2014 in Richland, Washington. However, on Wednesday Judge Edward Shea heard arguments for dividing the ten defendants into three groups and holding three separate trials. The judge is considering the argument and reading over a past case before making a ruling but he is presently inclined to hold a single trial. Shea said separate trials might create disadvantages for some defendants.
The defendants had different roles in the scheme, says lead attorney for the prosecution, Tyler Tornabene. They each derived different benefits from falsifying the timecards, he added. U.S. attorneys argued that the ten defendants should be grouped according to their job duties. These tasks correspond more directly with their involvement with timecards. It would allow the trials to be more focused and efficient.
The proposal offered by the Department of Justice stipulates that Stephanie Livesey and Davis should be prosecuted first. The two direct supervisors approved the timecards of the nine hourly workers who have made plea deals and other radiological control technicians between 1999 and 2008.
The second trial would be for the “persons in charge,” as the Justice Department calls them. They did not approve timecards but supervised hourly workers on specific jobs. The focus of their role is that they obtained overtime authorization from upper managers. Mark Norris Johnson, Perry Mark Howard, James Michael Hay, Baird and Niebuhr would be the defendants in this trial.
The final trial would include upper managers Ryan Dodd, Brannan and Hissong. The top managers of the company are accused of concealing the timecard scheme. They received incentive payments in the form of corporate bonuses from the Department of Energy by ensuring that deadlines were met, according to the prosecution.
Hourly workers at Hanford would only work overtime if it were offered in eight-hour shifts. It became the group norm over the years to claim the full eight hours of overtime although the jobs were typically completed sooner.
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