Prosecutors accuse Carmel, Ind., man of accepting bribes from Springdale businessman

Brian Bowling
| Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 5:51 p.m.

A Carmel, Ind., businessman committed mail fraud when he had a Fox Chapel businessman send kickbacks to a company he set up to disguise the money he stole from his employer, federal prosecutors said in court documents filed on Wednesday.

Mark M. Palombaro, a former senior vice president of Simon Property Group Inc. of Indianapolis, agreed to use his influence in 2006 and 2008 to have the company award two West Coast mall construction contracts to a Springdale construction company owned by Robert E. Crawford, 54, prosecutors say.

In return, Crawford paid Palombaro $766,000 in kickbacks. The checks went to Abby Inc., of which Palombaro was president, prosecutors say.

The charges filed Wednesday were in an information instead of an indictment, which indicates that Palombaro cooperated with investigators and plans to plead guilty.

There was no answer at Palombaro's home phone and no attorney is listed for him in court documents.

Crawford pleaded guilty in June to mail fraud and filing a false personal income tax return in June and is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 13. At his plea hearing, he admitted to bribing Palombaro and padding the invoices he sent to Simon Property Group for work on the two projects.

Simon Property Group sued both men in 2008, and Palombaro settled his part of the lawsuit by agreeing to repay the money, according to court documents.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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