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  • Press Release

Former PUCO Chairman, Former FirstEnergy Executives Indicted on Public Corruption Charges


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — A former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, two former FirstEnergy Corp. executives and two entities have been indicted by a Summit County grand jury as a corrupt enterprise for their alleged role in the House Bill 6 scandal, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh and Summit County Sheriff Kandy Fatheree announced yesterday.


“This indictment is about more than one piece of legislation,” Yost said. “It is about the hostile capture of a significant portion of Ohio's state government by deception, betrayal and dishonesty. Shout it from the public square to the boardroom, from Wall Street to Broad and High: Those who perversely seek to turn the government to their own private ends will face the destruction of everything they worked for.”


Charged with a combined 27 felony counts are Samuel “Sam” Randazzo, former PUCO chairman; Charles “Chuck” Jones, former CEO of First Energy; Michael Dowling, former First Energy senior vice president of external affairs.


Two companies controlled by Randazzo – the Sustainability Funding Alliance of Ohio and IEU-Ohio Administration Co. – are also named in the filing. Both are alleged to be shell companies created solely for furthering Randazzo’s alleged criminal activity. 


“Jones and Dowling actively worked to spend FirstEnergy money to improperly influence Randazzo to exercise the authority of PUCO chairman to advance FirstEnergy’s regulatory and policy agendas,” the indictment says. Specifically, the indictment accuses the enterprise of engaging in a scheme to corrupt the PUCO chairman and ratemaking policies, stealing millions of dollars from FirstEnergy and a nonprofit trade group, and tampering with government records.


The state charges stem from an investigation conducted by a task force organized under the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, within the Attorney General’s Office. The task force was created at the request of the prosecutor of Summit County, where FirstEnergy is headquartered. By Ohio law, the attorney general’s OCIC task force cannot initiate an investigation without a request from a prosecutor.


“These individuals used First Energy to break the law and betray the public’s trust,” Prosecutor Walsh said. “This indictment is another step toward bringing justice for the residents of Summit County and Ohio. We appreciate the ability to work jointly with Attorney General Yost and the Ohio Organized Crime Commission. This collaboration between state and county law enforcement is an example of government doing its best to fight crime and corruption in not only Summit County but throughout the state.”


The task force, led by Deputy Attorney General for Law Enforcement Carol O’Brien, includes agents, analysts, paralegal and accountants from Yost’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation; the Summit County Sheriff’s Office; and prosecutors from the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office. The Ohio Ethics Commission also assisted in the investigation.


“Today we take another important step toward ensuring that the individuals involved in this scandal are held accountable for their actions, which ultimately impacted the pocketbooks of every hardworking Ohioan,” Sheriff Fatheree said. “I am very proud of my Detective Bureau and of all those involved in this investigation.”


A copy of the indictment is available on the attorney general’s website.


Randazzo and others have been indicted and prosecuted in federal court for their role in the House Bill 6 scandal. These state charges mark the first criminal charges against Jones and Dowling.


The conduct alleged in the indictment took place between 2010 and 2021 in Summit County, Franklin County and Florida.


Randazzo was indicted on 22 felony counts:  


  • One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (F1)

  • One count of grand theft (F1)

  • Two counts aggravated theft (F2)

  • One count of bribery (F3)

  • Three counts of telecommunications fraud (F1)

  • Eight counts of money laundering (F3)

  • Six counts of tampering with records (F3)


Jones was indicted on 10 felony counts:


  • One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (F1)

  • Two counts of aggravated theft of $1.5 million or more (F1)

  • One count of bribery (F3)

  • Two counts of telecommunications fraud (F1)

  • Four counts of money laundering (F3)


Dowling was indicted on 12 felony counts:


  • One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (F1)

  • Two counts aggravated theft of $1.5 million or more (F1)

  • One count of bribery (F3)

  • Two counts of telecommunications fraud (F1)

  • Four counts of money laundering (F3)

  • Two counts of tampering with records (F3)


Sustainability Funding Alliance of Ohio is included in 11 criminal charges:


  • One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (F1)

  • Two counts of telecommunications fraud (F1)

  • Six counts of money laundering (F3)

  • Two counts of aggravated theft (F2)


IEU-Ohio Administration is included in five criminal charges:


  • One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity (F1)

  • One count of grand theft (F4)

  • One count of telecommunications fraud (F1)

  • Two counts of money laundering (F3)


Indictments merely contain allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proved guilty in a court of law.


How we got here


These criminal indictments mark the latest development in Attorney General Yost’s continued work to hold those responsible for the House Bill 6 scandal accountable while saving Ohioans significant taxpayer dollars.


Through several civil court filings, Yost removed the ill-gotten gains from the corruption legislation, saving the state’s FirstEnergy customers nearly $2 billion over the life of HB6. Here is a timeline of those efforts:


  • September 2020: Seeking to right the harm caused to Ohio, Yost files a civil lawsuit against former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, FirstEnergy, FirstEnergy subsidiary Energy Harbor, and various accomplices.

  • November 2020: Yost moved to block HB6’s nuclear bailout, which would have taken $150 million a year from ratepayers to give to Energy Harbor.

  • December 2020: Yost’s request to prevent the bailout is granted by a judge.

  • January 2021: Yost files a motion to prevent the “decoupling rider,” which would have cost customers $700 million to $1 billion through 2029.

  • August 2021: A judge grants Yost’s request to freeze $8 million of Randazzo’s assets after Randazzo began transferring and selling properties. The ruling was later appealed and affirmed.

  • In August 2021, Yost sues former FirstEnergy CEO Jones and Randazzo, among others, seeking to recover the $4.3 million bribe that FirstEnergy has admitted paying Randazzo.


About OOCIC


Established in 1986 within the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) assists local law enforcement agencies in combatting organized crime and corrupt activities. “Organized criminal activity” means any combination or conspiracy to engage in activity that constitutes “engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity;” any criminal activity that relates to the corruption of a public official or public servant; or any violation, combination of violations, or conspiracy to commit one or more violations related to drug trafficking, manufacturing and/or possession. 

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