Founder of South Carolina Construction Firm Sentenced for Convictions Related to Kickback Payments, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering

COVINGTON, KY (Monday, March 4, 2024) – The founder of Berenyi, Inc., headquartered in Charleston, S.C., Antoine “Tony” Berenyi, 63, was sentenced on Friday, by U.S. District Judge David Bunning, to 30 months following his convictions for conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.

Berenyi was convicted by a federal jury in July 2023.  According to the evidence presented at trial, beginning in late 2017, Berenyi entered into an illegal kickback agreement with Jaymin Vinson, an employee of Nucor Steel Gallatin, to deprive Nucor of both money and Vinson’s honest services as an employee.  Berenyi and Vinson agreed that Vinson would help steer a $14,950,000 construction management contract, for a $650 million Nucor mill expansion project, to Berenyi’s company and provide other services on behalf of Berenyi within Nucor.  This agreement was in exchange for Berenyi paying Vinson a 15% kickback on the contract and was reached without Nucor’s knowledge or approval.  These secret kickback payments continued into 2019, totaling over $452,000 kicked back to Vinson.

In addition to the prison sentence, Berenyi was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, $753,625 in restitution, and $396,500 in a money judgement.

Vinson, who has also been convicted, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 14, and he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Under federal law, Berenyi must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence.  Upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for two years.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Michael E. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Louisville Field Office, jointly announced the sentencing.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Chapman and Kyle Winslow are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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