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TVA contractor gets 6 ½ years in fraud case

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A Louisiana man convicted of lying about worker injuries at Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear facilities, allowing his company to collect $2.5 million in safety bonuses, has been sentenced to serve 6 ½ years in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Walter Cardin, of Metairie, La., was sentenced on Thursday, according to a news release from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Cardin, 55, was the safety manager for the Shaw Group, a construction contractor. He was convicted in November of not reporting injuries at the Sequoyah and Watts Bar plants in Tennessee and Brown's Ferry in Alabama between 2004 and 2006.

At trial, jurors heard evidence of more than 80 injuries not properly recorded, including broken bones, torn ligaments, hernias, lacerations and injuries to shoulders, backs and knees.

Some employees testified that medical treatment was denied or delayed as a result of Cardin's fraud.

U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Collier imposed a more severe sentence for Cardin after finding he had obstructed justice when he testified falsely at trial.

During the trial, Cardin denied intentionally misclassifying injuries and disputed evidence in the medical records and from injured employees. Cardin also denied knowing that safety bonuses were tied to his classifications of the injuries, although investigators found emails sent by Cardin with information tying the safety bonuses to injury rates.

The Shaw Group paid back double the amount of the bonuses in a 2008 civil agreement.