Midvale employee charged with defrauding city
Crime • He didn’t disclose ties to contract winners, consultants.
Published: January 16, 2014 11:19PM
Updated: January 20, 2014 02:26PM

A Midvale employee and a handful of Utah companies are facing a slew of criminal charges for allegedly ripping off the city.

Bryce Westcott faces two counts of communications fraud, one count of theft and one count of pattern of unlawful activity, all second-degree felonies. He could face up to 15 years in prison on each of those charges. Three companies are also listed at co-defendants in the case: Divi Engery LLC, WT Group LLC, and Thompson Westcott LLC.

Prosecutors filed the charges against Westcott in November but added the three companies to the case Thursday.

According to court documents, Westcott worked for Midvale and used his job with the city to win a multimillion-dollar street light project for the companies, which he helped found and with which he continued to have a relationship. The documents state that Westcott’s job at the city included “fleet management and special projects.”

In 2011, Midvale began considering an upgrade for the city street lights. Westcott was put in charge of the project.

Between April and October 2012, the city paid $13,500 for consulting and studies on the project to WT Group — a company that court documents say Westcott was a member of. Later, in November 2012, Midvale issued a $2.3 million bond to install 300 street lights. The city took bids for the project and ultimately awarded the contract to DiVi Energy, which is owned by Thompson Westcott, a company Westcott co-founded.

The documents state that Westcott signed a disclosure statement in 2011 without mentioning his connection to the companies. He also failed to bring up the connection as the process progressed and more money poured in. The documents go on to mention a conversation between employees of two other companies in which they marvel that DiVi Energy won the contract even with a bid that was almost 10 percent higher than their own.

The connection between Westcott and the various companies came to light in February 2013. At that time, WT Group sent a letter to the city explaining its relationship to DiVi Energy. The documents add that if the city had known about Westcott’s relationship to the companies, “it would likely have not selected them as the apparent successful bid winner.”

Prosecutors also believe Westcott personally made thousands of dollars by selling one of Midvale’s backhoes.

The sale happened in late 2012, the documents state, when Westcott listed the backhoe for sale on KSL for $18,000. Almost immediately, the city employee responsible for fielding the calls about the sale received an inquiry from Kevin Dieber — the CEO of WT Group and DiVi Engery. Westcott was adamant that the city sell the backhoe to Dieber even though another person showed up first and offered to pay cash.

Dieber then immediately listed the backhoe for sale on KSL and eventually sold it for $32,000.

Then on Jan. 7, 2013, Dieber wrote a check to Westcott for $12,900, according to the documents. Westcott reportedly put the money in his personal bank account.

The documents do not say if Westcott is still employed by the city and officials could not be reached for comment.

Court records show that Westcott was booked into jail Nov. 13 and bailed out the same day. He most recently had a status conference Jan. 9 and is scheduled to appear in court again Jan. 23.

jdalrymple@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jimmycdii