Beth Colling, Chief Compliance Officer, CDM Smith Inc.
Beth Colling, Chief Compliance Officer, CDM Smith Inc. (CDM Smith)

The foreign bribery case against CDM Smith Inc., a private engineering and construction firm, cost the company $4 million last week. But it earned CDM Smith a declination of prosecution—the seventh listed under the government’s recently implemented Foreign Corrupt Practices Act pilot program—as well as a “conditional non-debarment” from the World Bank Group.

The case also resulted in the Boston-based company hiring its first chief compliance officer, according to the Department of Justice’s letter of declination, signed on June 29.

During the bribery investigation last year, the company agreed to enhance its compliance program, and it hired Beth Colling as CCO. She is a former general counsel at Ally Consulting, and former CCO at the Schaeffler Group USA Inc., both in North Carolina, according to her LinkedIn profile.

The DOJ said its investigation found that a CDM Smith subsidiary in India paid over $1 million in bribes to government officials there in order to win contracts for highway and water projects that netted the company about $4 million in profits.

Nathaniel Edmonds, a partner at Paul Hastings in Washington, D.C., represented the company.

The DOJ introduced the pilot program in April 2016, saying it would provide prosecutors and corporations a clearer understanding of what it offers a company that voluntarily discloses its wrongdoing, fully cooperates with an investigation, and institutes remedial compliance measures.   

Under the pilot program, CDM Smith discovered the bribery activity in India and self-reported it to DOJ. The company also agreed to disgorge the $4 million in profits and to cooperate fully with prosecutors. CDM Smith did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But Stephen Hickox, chairman of the board and CEO, said in a statement: “CDM Smith has a clear code of ethics and core values that drive our behavior every day. Any breach of these values or improper business activities is counter to our culture and will not be tolerated.”

The DOJ said “all senior management at CDM India … were aware of the bribes and approved or participated in the misconduct.”

According to CDM statements, all employees involved were “separated from the company.”