The president of a Harford County underground utility company was federally indicted for allegedly funneling money to a broadband nonprofit’s former CEO for personal uses, according to court documents.
Wayne I. Kacher Jr., the then-president of Bel Air Underground Services Inc., is facing federal bribery, wire fraud and conspiracy charges for allegedly routing money to William Patrick Mitchell through his company to pay for some of Mitchell’s personal expenses. Mitchell, who was the president of the legislatively created Maryland Broadband Cooperative, was indicted in April, and a superseding indictment for Kacher was issued in mid-May.
Prosecutors allege that Mitchell would pay the Joppatowne-based utility company and Kacher would kick some of that money back to Mitchell. The cash came from a 2008 contract between the non-profit Mitchell headed and the U.S. Navy, which ultimately agreed to pay in excess of $24 million to run fiber optic cable between a military facility in St. Mary’s County and a NASA facility in Virginia.
While the MdBC was the primary contractor on the project, Bel Air Underground Services worked as a subcontractor for portions of the project. MdBC completed its work under the fiber optic agreement in 2020.
“In fact, Mitchell used funds from the Navy not only to pay for work on the Pax River Project, but also to pay funds to BAU [Bel Air Underground], disguised as payments for work performed by BAU, or to be performed by BAU, which Mitchell could then direct Kacher to pay to and for the benefit of Mitchell personally,” the indictment states.
From 2014 to 2018, MdBC paid Kacher’s company approximately $9.5 million, about $6.8 million of which was for work on the Navy’s broadband expansion project, the documents state. The nonprofit also paid another company Kacher headed, called Pro Comm, $500,000 from 2014 to 2018.
Once BAU received invoice payments from the nonprofit, Kacher purchased bank cashier’s checks made payable to himself or to cash, which he endorsed and signed over to Mitchell, the documents state. Mitchell deposited those into his personal bank account.
With some of the money, prosecutors allege, Kacher bought Mitchell an all-terrain vehicle, new carpets for his Cambridge home and paid for a detached garage Mitchell was building to the home. According to the document, Kacher’s incentive was “to enrich himself by secretly obtaining favorable official action for himself, BAU, and Pro Comm through corrupt means.”
To hide what they were doing, prosecutors allege, Kacher would surreptitiously drop the cash to Mitchell. The two exchanged multiple text messages about the money before sending it over FedEx or, sometimes, resorting to more direct methods.
“I’ll stop over and hide the package somewhere on the farm,” Kacher texted Mitchell in April 2016, the documents state.
Later that day, Kacher sent another text stating, “Package is in the tractor under the floor mat,” according to the documents.
Mitchell is also accused of using his Maryland Broadband card for nearly $160,000 of personal expenses like paying to dock his boat “Reelin Fiber,” and taking another nonprofit employee to Costa Rica, the documents state. The nonprofit’s board of directors terminated Mitchell as the CEO in January of 2019, according to the indictment.
No attorney was listed for Kacher in court records, and he could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
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According to Maryland Business records, Kacher’s company was formed in June 2006 and forfeited by the Comptroller in October of 2018, meaning it lost the right to do business in the state.