CASPER, Wyo. — A federal jury has found Cheyenne-based Wasatch Railroad Contractors and the company’s CEO John Eldon Rimmasch, 47, guilty of five counts of wire fraud and one count of knowing endangerment, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming said in a press release Monday.
“This case arose after Wasatch entered a contract to restore a historic railcar owned by the National Park Service,” the press release states. “Wasatch failed to complete the restoration, and, in the process, endangered its employees by exposing them to asbestos without proper safety measures.”
Despite Wasatch failing to complete the restoration, the company invoiced the National Park Service to certify that it had performed asbestos abatement pursuant to the contract, “knowing full well it had not.”
“The contract also obligated Wasatch to pay Davis Bacon wages to its laborers, which Wasatch failed to do,” the press release adds. “Rimmasch, however, directed others to knowingly submit false certified payrolls to the National Park Service stating his employees were paid the minimum Davis Bacon wage.”
“Rimmasch knew that compliance with the contract was necessary to receive the $800,000 payment from the National Park Service, which was received.”
The federal jury found Wasatch and Rimmasch guilty at the conclusion of a trial that took place April 4–13 before Federal District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson, according to the press release. A sentencing hearing has been set for July 5.
Rimmasch could face up to 115 years in prison and up to $1.5 million in fines. He could also face up to a $600 special assessment and up to three years’ supervised release. Wasatch could face up to $2.25 million in fines.
“The crimes were investigated by the United States Department of the Interior, Office of the Inspector General, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency,” the press release states. “Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie I. Sprecher and Special Assistant United States Attorney Richard Baird are prosecuting the case.”
Correction, April 27, 2022: A previous version of this story reported that a federal grand jury handed down the guilty verdict. It was a federal jury. Grand has been removed throughout.