Judge denies former BVU contractor’s restitution payment schedule request

BRISTOL, VA (WJHL) – A federal judge has denied a proposed payment schedule for a former Bristol Virginia Utilities contractor worth $13 million.

In an order filed today Judge James Jones ruled James Todd Edwards, the former CEO of a South Carolina company that used to do business with BVU, cannot take an extended amount of time to pay restitution in the BVU corruption case.

As we reported last week, BVU anticipated it would take Edwards up to 18 years to pay the $460,000 he owes in restitution.

As part of his ruling, the judge said based on Edwards’ assets (mostly business entities) and $53,000 monthly income “it is difficult to accept that he could not raise – within a reasonable time – the necessary funds to pay the restitution.”

Edwards’ attorney previously argued if he was forced to pay all of his restitution at once, the two former vice presidents who are also headed to prison in this case (Robert James Kelley and David Copeland) may “be relieved of their restitution obligations.” Kelley was ordered to pay $330,510 in restitution and Copeland was ordered to pay $144,000 in restitution to be paid jointly and severally.

“If in fact Edwards pays restitution owed by Copeland and Kelley, Edwards will be able to obtain contribution payments from them for this joint obligation,” the order says, basically arguing Edwards would have legal grounds to try to recoup that money.

The judge previously sentenced Edwards to two years in prison for his role in the BVU case.

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