Nicholas J. Bush, former president of the Natural Gas SupplyAssociation (NGSA), has been charged with one count of criminalmail fraud and one count of tax evasion in connection with his rolein the embezzlement of more than $2.8 million from the producertrade group.

Bush, who was ousted from NGSA when the fraud was discovered inFebruary, could face up to 10 years in a federal prison ifconvicted on both counts, said Channing Phillips, a spokesman forthe U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington D.C., which filed formalcharges last week.

Bush could be arraigned in U.S. District Court on the charges asearly as June 15th. However, if his attorney, William Murphy ofBaltimore, isn’t able to finish another case that he’s trying bythat date, the arraignment will be pushed back to July 1, Phillipssaid. The arraignment will mark the first public appearance by Bushsince news of the fraud surfaced four months ago.

The mail fraud charge covers Bush’s role in the entire scheme inwhich he “trick[ed] the NGSA into paying over $2.8 million to himunder the assumed names of ‘James W. Rogers,’ ‘James S. Rosebush,’and ‘Kenneth A. Duberstein'” of The Duberstein Group, a consultingfirm in Washington, according to documents filed in federal court.The fraud began in 1983 – much earlier than was initially believed- and continued until January 1999, prosecutors contend.

Prosecutors charge that Bush violated the federal mail fraudcode when “on or about” January 1998 he “did knowingly cause to bedelivered by the United States Postal Service to the InternalRevenue Service” Form 1099 tax information that had been altered tohide NGSA’s payment of $275,000 to Rogers for consulting work thatwas to have been performed during 1997. Rogers was unaware of thescheme, and the money was pocketed by Bush, they said.

Prosecutors said that Bush between 1991 and 1998 routinelyintercepted Form 1099 tax information that was mailed to the three”consultants” so that “these individuals were not aware that theNGSA issued checks made payable in their names.” During the sameperiod, Bush also regularly intercepted and altered the Form 1099notices that were mailed to the IRS in order to “void” entriesshowing the consulting income for the non-existent NGSAconsultants, according to the court documents.

In an attempt to further conceal the “consultant” payments, Bushfiled a “false and fraudulent” income tax return “on behalf ofhimself and his spouse” for calendar year 1997, prosecutors said.Bush listed their joint taxable income for that year as $212,088even though he “knew and believed” it was “substantially in excess”of that amount. The Bushes paid $60,332 in taxes for 1997.

Specifically, prosecutors said Bush caused the NGSA to issue -and then pocketed – more than $2.6 million worth of checks madepayable to Rogers, $160,000 worth of checks made payable toRosebush, and a $60,000 check to Duberstein over a 16-year period.The three “consultants” were unwitting parties to the fraud schemeengineered by Bush. In each case, “Bush took control of this moneyand thereafter spent it for his own personal use,” they charged.

To perpetrate the fraud, Bush forged the signatures of Rogers,Rosebush and Duberstein on retainer agreements to provideconsulting services to NGSA, and then submitted and approved “falseand fraudulent expense requests” in their names, according toprosecutors. They further said Bush “on or about” 1983 forgedRogers’ signature to open a checking account at a Washington

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