Examples of Public Corruption Investigations - Fiscal Year 2015

The following examples of Public Corruption Investigations are written from public record documents on file in the courts within the judicial district where the cases were prosecuted.

Former Chippewa Cree Tribal Chairman Sentenced on Federal Charges 
On July 29, 2015, in Great Falls, Montana, John Chance Houle, of Box Elder, was sentenced to 68 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $646,456 in restitution and $400 in special assessments. Houle, the former Chippewa Cree Tribal Chairman, pleaded guilty in December 2014 to accepting kick-back payments from Hunter Burns Construction and Dr. James Eastlick in exchange for facilitating the award and payment on tribal contracts. In another indictment, Houle pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Chippewa Cree Rodeo Association and obstructing a federal grand jury investigation. In a third indictment, Houle pleaded guilty to one of four counts of tax evasion. 

New Jersey Woman Sentenced for Paying $671,000 in Bribes to Fraudulently Obtain Government Contracts
On July 13, 2015, in Trenton, New Jersey, Donna Doremus, of Hopewell, was sentenced to 37 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a later date, however, Doremus agreed to a forfeiture money judgment of $671,975. Doremus previously pleaded guilty to bribing a public official, conspiracy to defraud the United States and making and subscribing to false federal tax returns. According to court documents, from 2007 to July 2012, Doremus paid approximately $671,000 in bribes to Jarod Machinga, a former Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) supervisory engineer at the VA’s campus in East Orange, in order to direct $6 million in construction contracts to Doremus’ companies. Doremus conspired with Machinga to make false representations about one of her companies, Tyro General Construction (Tyro), to enter into a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business contract with the VA which paid more than $3 million to Tyro. For tax years 2009 and 2010, Doremus falsely reported that certain bribe payments she made to Machinga, as well some personal expenditures, were her companies’ business expenses. As a result, she failed to pay $250,374 in federal income taxes that she owed the IRS. On June 30, 2015, Machinga was sentenced to 46 months in prison in connection with accepting kickbacks from Doremus and engaging in a scheme to defraud the VA.

Three Sentenced On Bribery Charges In Connection With Gulf Coast Community Action Agency
On July 1, 2015, in Gulfport, Mississippi, Linda Harvey-Irvin, of Jackson, Donald Walton, of Vicksburg, and Markuntala Croom, of Columbia, were sentenced on bribery charges involving the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency (GCAA), a non-profit organization, partially funded by federal grants, which runs the Head Start Preschool in Gulfport. Harvey-Irvin was sentenced to 85 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $531,236 in restitution. Walton was sentenced to 37 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and a $31,000 forfeiture. Croom was sentenced to 57 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $531,236 in restitution. According to court documents, Harvey-Irvin was the deputy director of the Mississippi GCAA. Harvey-Irvin accepted bribes from Walton, owner and operator of Walton Construction, in exchange for construction contracts worth more than $400,000. Harvey-Irvin was also charged in a second indictment with accepting bribes from Croom, owner and operator of Croom Consulting, in exchange for awarding over $520,502 in consulting work to Croom. Walton paid Harvey-Irvin $31,000 in kickbacks as a reward for his contracts, and Croom paid Harvey-Irvin $69,911 in kickbacks as a reward for her contracts.

Former Department of Veterans Affairs Official Sentenced for Taking $1.2 Million in Kickbacks
On June 30, 2015, in Trenton, New Jersey, Jarod Machinga, of Hopewell, was sentenced to 46 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Machinga previously pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud, wire fraud and engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property. According to court documents, Machinga, a former Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employee, worked as a supervisory engineer at the VA’s campus in East Orange. As a supervisory engineer, Machinga had the authority and influence to direct certain VA construction contracts to particular companies. Machinga partnered with another individual to set up three companies that could be used to obtain VA work. He then directed more than $6 million worth of VA construction projects to those companies. Machinga admitted he accepted $1,277,205 in kickbacks in exchange for his official action and influence between 2007 and July 2012. Additionally, Machinga defrauded the VA by falsely representing that one of the contracting companies was owned by a service-disabled veteran when it was not. 

Former Baltimore City Official Sentenced for Bribery Scheme
On June 23, 2015, in Baltimore, Maryland, Barry Stephen Robinson, of Accokeek, Maryland, was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay forfeiture of $20,000. According to court documents, Robinson was Chief of the Division of Transit and Marine Services of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. In this position, Robinson supervised Baltimore City’s “Circulator” and “Water Taxi” programs and had authority to approve contracts with advertisers and vendors and to purchase and pay for goods and services. In January 2014, Robinson offered to cancel $60,000 of debt in return for $20,000 in cash. From January 23 to March 11, 2014, Robinson received four cash payments of $5,000 each. In return, Robinson provided a signed letter on Baltimore City letterhead falsely stating that the $60,000 debt had been paid. Robinson also admitted that he stole and sold bus shelters belonging to the city for $70,000. In 2011, Robinson arranged for Baltimore City to purchase 13 bus shelters from a Canadian company for $249,290. Robinson planned to sell the shelters for his personal benefit.  On April 9, 2014, Robinson accepted $70,000, in return for the city’s bus shelters. Seeking to disguise the source of the bribery proceeds, Robinson deposited the cash bribe payments he received into two bank accounts in the name of another person. He used a portion of the proceeds for home improvements and other items. The intended loss to the City of Baltimore from Robinson’s schemes was approximately $310,000.

Former Illinois Public Health Chief of Staff Sentenced
On June 23, 2015, in Springfield, Illinois, Quinshaunta R. Golden, of Homewood, was sentenced to 96 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,000,000 in restitution to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) jointly with Roxanne Jackson. On April 10, 2014, Golden pleaded guilty to taking bribes and kickbacks. According to court documents, Golden served as Chief of Staff at IDPH from 2003 to early 2008. From 2006 to 2008, Golden used her agency position to direct approximately $11 million in grant funds to three not-for-profit organizations and a for-profit corporation controlled by Leon Dingle, Jr. As part of the scheme, Golden directed that Roxanne Jackson, a former IDPH administrator, be hired as a paid consultant for Dingle and the three not-for-profit entities. As a result, approximately $772,500 in grant funds disbursed to the three not-for-profit entities was paid to Jackson from July 2007 to April 2008. Golden required that Jackson pay her one-half of whatever she received, less any funds to be withheld for payment of taxes, which were never paid. Golden also directed that Jackson work as a paid consultant for VIP Security. Golden caused approximately $2 million in contract funds to be paid by IDPH to VIP Security and again required Jackson to give her kickback payments. On June 12, 2015, Roxanne Jackson was sentenced to 25 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,000,000 jointly with Golden for her part in the bribery and kickback scheme and filing false income tax returns. Leon Dingle, Jr., and his wife Karin, both of Chicago, were convicted of conspiracy to defraud, mail fraud and money laundering and their sentencing has been scheduled at a later date. 

Three Defendants in Virginia Utilities Kickback Scheme Sentenced
On June 18, 2015, in Abingdon, Virginia, three of the four defendants convicted in a kickback scheme at the Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU) Authority were sentenced to prison for their roles in the scheme. Robert James Kelley Jr., of Lexington, who is a former Vice President of Field Operations for BVU, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $330,510 in restitution and to forfeit $165,375. Kelley previously pleaded guilty to one count of a multi-object conspiracy to commit mail fraud, money laundering and to defraud the United States. David Copeland, of Bristol, who is also a former Vice President of Field Operations for BVU, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $144,000 in restitution and to forfeit $50,000. Copeland previously pleaded guilty to one count of a multi-object conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. Michael Clark, of Colbert, Georgia, was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered to pay $110,065 in restitution. Clark previously pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.  According to court documents, from about January 2006 to February 2009, Clark worked as a contractor for BVU and submitted false invoices to Kelley for BVU work that was not actually completed. These false invoices resulted in at least $110,065 in fraudulent billing by Clark. Kelley approved the payment of the invoices in exchange for kickbacks from Clark. Kelley then prepared false invoices that claimed Kelley did work for Clark, when in fact, no work was done. From about January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2013, Company #1 submitted false invoices to BVU for work that was never done. Copeland approved payment of the invoices in exchange for a kickback. These false invoices resulted in at least $144,000 in fraudulent billing by Company #1. A fourth defendant, James Todd Edwards, has yet to be sentenced for his role in the conspiracy.

Former Illinois Police Chief, Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced for Mail Fraud, Money Laundering, Tax Evasion
On May 29, 2015, in Peoria, Illinois, Timothy J. Swanson, of Bourbonnais, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $229,128 in restitution to victims, as well as $55,140 in back taxes. On Jan. 27, 2015, Swanson pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud, one count of money laundering, two counts of tax evasion and two counts of filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Swanson was employed as the City of Countryside, Illinois, Chief of Police in 2005 and 2006. After leaving the police department, in 2009, Swanson joined the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office. During 2005 and 2006, Swanson obtained the use of two U.S. Department of Defense helicopters to be used for law enforcement activities. To obtain funds to operate the helicopters, Swanson established the Illinois Regional Air Support Service (IRASS) as a tax-exempt organization. No officer or director was to profit from its operation. From at least 2005 through 2012, Swanson solicited police departments, corporations and individuals to make contributions to IRASS. From 2006 to 2010, Swanson used a credit card in the name of IRASS to make personal purchases and used money donated or awarded to IRASS to make payments on the credit card. Swanson also used this money to purchase Rotors & Wings, LLC., a business that he operated.

Former City of Portland Smart Parking Meter Manager Sentenced for Taking Bribes and Filing False Returns
On May 27, 2015, in Portland, Oregon, Ellis McCoy, former Manager of Portland’s Parking Operations Division, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for taking almost $200,000 in bribes from two city contractors from 2002 to mid-2011. In August 2012, McCoy pleaded guilty to conspiring to accept bribes, accepting bribes, and filing false tax returns on which he did not report a substantial amount of the bribe as income. According to court documents, McCoy gave favorable treatment to the city contractors in return for $164,567 in checks and currency plus the value of travel, meals, lodging, and other expenses of an undetermined amount. McCoy created a phony consulting company and submitted invoices for fictitious consulting work so he and the contractors could disguise some of the bribe payments as payments for consulting work. McCoy accepted about $70,000 of the bribe payments in cash and that the contractors paid for some or all of his meals, travel, and entertainment expenses on about 60 trips for business and pleasure.

Former Chairman of Board of Trustees for South Carolina State Sentenced for Racketeering Conspiracy
On May 20, 2015, in Columbia, South Carolina, Jonathan Pinson, of Greenville, South Carolina, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $337,843 in restitution. Pinson was convicted by a jury in June 2014 on charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, theft concerning programs receiving federal funds, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and false statements. According to court documents, Pinson was involved in four different schemes. One scheme revolved around the 2011 homecoming concert at SCSU and Pinson’s efforts to steer the concert promotion contract to his close friend and former SCSU roommate in exchange for a kickback. Other schemes included Pinson’s theft of government funds earmarked for the installation of a diaper plant in Marion County.  Proceeds from the grant, intended to create jobs in rural Marion County, were instead pocketed by Pinson and his associates. Pinson was also convicted of theft of government funds received from a 10 million dollar American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant intended for the development known as the Village at Rivers Edge. In the final scheme, Pinson again used his position as Chairman of the Board of SCSU to influence officials at SCSU to purchase land known as “Sportsman’s Retreat”.  The seller of the property, Richard Zahn, Pinson’s business partner, testified that he agreed to pay a kickback to Pinson in the form of a new Porsche Cayenne, an SUV valued at approximately $90,000.  

Former Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Legislature Sentenced for Bribery and Extortion
On May 14, 2015, in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, former Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Legislature, Louis “Lolo” Willis was sentenced to 60 months in prison. On Nov. 19, 2014, a jury in the Virgin Islands convicted Willis of four counts of federal programs bribery and extortion under color of official right. According to evidence presented at trial, Willis was the executive director of the Legislature between 2009 and 2012. His responsibilities included oversight of the major renovation of the Legislature building and awarding and entering into government contracts in connection with the project. Willis was also responsible for authorizing payments to the contractors for their work. Willis accepted bribes, including $13,000 in cash and checks, from contractors in exchange for using his official position to secure more than $350,000 in work for the contractors and to ensure they received payment upon completion.

Former Township Financial Officer Sentenced  
On May 1, 2015, in Indianapolis, Indiana, Alan Mizen, of Zionsville, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $343,000 in restitution. Mizen was previously convicted of theft of federal program funds. According to court documents, Mizen served as the chief financial officer for Center Township. In June 2010, he set up a bank account and deposited a $343,541 check that was drawn from public funds. Mizen then used the computerized accounting system at the Center Township Trustee’s Office to create a false invoice indicating that he had written the check to the “Treasurer of State.” Mizen then transferred the funds to various personal accounts that he maintained. From June 10, 2010, through July 2012, Mizen used the embezzled taxpayer funds to finance personal expenditures.

Former Illinois School Board Member Sentenced for Bus Contracts Fraud Scheme  
On April 21, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois, Alice Sherrod, a former North Chicago school board member, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay approximately $7.2 million in restitution. In September 2013, Sherrod pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false federal income tax return. According to court documents, between 2001 and 2010 Sherrod, who was the North Chicago school district’s Director of Transportation, participated in a fraud scheme with four co-defendants, including Gloria Harper, the former President of the North Chicago school board. Sherrod and Harper used their positions to enrich themselves secretly by soliciting and accepting gifts and cash from their three co-defendants in exchange for favorable official action regarding student transportation contracts. Initially, Harper and Sherrod received kickbacks of approximately $4,000 to $5,000 a month but, by 2003, they were collecting approximately $20,000 a month. The three co-defendants funneled kickbacks totaling at least $800,000 to Harper and Sherrod and made more than $9.6 million in profits. All five defendants pleaded guilty last year and have been sentenced. Gloria Harper, of Berwyn and formerly of Gurnee, was sentenced to 120 months in prison for her part in the scheme.

Illinois Businessman Sentenced for Participation in Corruption Scheme
On April 14, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois, Ronald Garcia, of Lockport, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $67,792 in restitution. Garcia previously pleaded guilty to federal program bribery.  According to court documents, Garcia participated in a scheme with co-defendant, Joseph Mario Moreno, who had served for more than 16 years as the elected county commissioner of Cook County, Illinois. Garcia owned and operated Chicago Medical Equipment & Supply, Co. Between March 2008 and July 2009, Moreno and Garcia conspired to extort a company that won a county contract to force it to use Garcia’s company as a minority subcontractor. Garcia provided Moreno and his wife with a $100,000 home mortgage loan in July 2007. Garcia then forgave the $100,000 mortgage loan to Moreno in exchange for Moreno’s efforts to steer the lucrative sub-contract to Garcia’s company. On Feb. 19, 2014, co-defendant Moreno was sentenced to 11 years in prison for engaging in a series of public and personal corruption schemes.

Former Campaign Treasurer Sentenced for Tax Evasion and Filing False Campaign Reports
On April 13, 2015, in Washington, D.C., Hakim J. Sutton, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced to 16 months in prison, three years of supervised and ordered to pay $18,231 in taxes and interest to the IRS. Sutton pleaded guilty on Oct. 23, 2014 to one count of income tax evasion and one count of knowingly filing a false and misleading campaign finance report. According to court documents, Sutton was the principal owner of the Sutton Group, which performed political consulting services in the District of Columbia and elsewhere. In 2011 and 2012, Sutton served as the treasurer and custodian of records for the campaign of Michael A. Brown. Between July 2011 and May 2012, Sutton diverted approximately $115,250 from the campaign bank account to himself by depositing the funds drawn from the campaign bank account into his own personal bank accounts, and converting funds drawn from the campaign bank account to cash. Some, but not all, of the money that Sutton diverted was compensation for Sutton’s work on the campaign. However, Sutton failed to file income tax returns for calendar years 2011 and 2012. Sutton also omitted references to the checks that he had written to himself in a series of six reports he filed in 2011 and 2012 with the District of Columbia Office of Campaign Finance.

Four Sentenced to Federal Prison for Role in Rocky Boy’s Corruption Probe
On March 11, 2015, in Great Falls, Montana, Mark Craig Leischner and Tammy Kay Leischner, of Laurel, were sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years’ supervised release. Mark Leischner was also ordered to pay $281,313 in restitution, and Tammy Leischner was ordered to pay $375,092 in restitution. Mark Leischner, pleaded guilty to embezzlement of over $200,000 in funds from the Chippewa Cree Tribe Rodeo Association, federal student financial aid fraud, and obstruction of justice. Tammy Leischner pleaded guilty to aiding the embezzlement of $311,000 in federal funds, bankruptcy fraud, federal student financial aid fraud, and blackmail. Tammy Leischners brother, Dr. James Howard Eastlick, was also sentenced to 72 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay $424,800 in restitution. Eastlick, the former psychologist for the Rocky Boy Health Clinic pleaded guilty to charges of bribery relating to a federally funded program, bribery of a councilman and income tax evasion.  On March 10, 2015, Bruce Sunchild, was sentenced to 34 months in prison, three years supervised release, and ordered to pay $370,088 in restitution. Sunchild pleaded guilty to bribery, embezzlement and tax evasion. All four sentencings were a result of the Rocky Boy's Corruption Probe. 

Former Campaign Coordinator Sentenced for Embezzling from Former Texas Lieutenant Governor Campaign Accounts
On Feb. 27, 2014, in Austin, Texas, political consultant Kenneth Barfield, aka Buddy Barfield, was sentenced to 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release for stealing more than $2.5 million in campaign funds from former Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Barfield was also ordered to pay $2,513,778 in restitution to the Barfield Litigation Trust Settlement and owes the IRS $427,073 in back taxes. On October 21, 2014, Barfield pleaded guilty to wire fraud, making a false tax return and embezzlement of federal campaign funds. According to court documents, Barfield was a member of the campaign staff and committee for Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst’s run for the Republican nomination for United States Senate in 2012. Barfield, and through his Austin-based companies, were responsible for securing, paying, and/or subcontracting legal and legitimate activities on behalf of Dewhurst’s campaign and had a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the campaign, including oversight and maintenance of financial records. Barfield engaged in a scheme to steal campaign funds and use it for his own personal expenses including his home mortgage, school tuition for his children, personal investments and other living expenses. In addition, on his 2008 income tax return, Barfield stated that his taxable income was zero when, in fact, his taxable income should have been reported as approximately $582,000. Also, under Barfield's direction, fraudulent documentation was submitted in disclosure reports to the Federal Elections Commission regarding expenditures for campaign disbursements.

Former First Lady of Virginia Sentenced for Public Corruption
On Feb. 20, 2015, in Richmond, Virginia, the former First Lady of Virginia, Maureen G. McDonnell was sentenced 12 months and one day in prison for violation of federal public corruption laws. Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, were convicted on Sept. 4, 2014, following a jury trial of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud and conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right. Maureen McDonnell also was convicted of two counts of honest-services wire fraud and four counts of obtaining property under color of official right. According to the evidence presented at trial, from April 2011 through March 2013, the McDonnells participated in a scheme to use the former governor’s official position to enrich themselves and their family members by soliciting and obtaining payments, loans, gifts and other things of value from Star Scientific, a Virginia-based corporation, and Jonnie R. Williams Sr., Star Scientific’s then chief executive officer. The McDonnells obtained these items in exchange for the former governor performing official actions to legitimize, promote and obtain research studies for Star’s products, including the dietary supplement Anatabloc. The McDonnells obtained more than $170,000 in direct payments as gifts and loans, thousands of dollars in golf outings, and numerous items from Williams. The McDonnells also attempted to conceal the things of value received from Williams and Star and to hide the nature and scope of their dealings with Williams from the citizens of Virginia by, for example, routing gifts and loans through family members and corporate entities controlled by the former governor to avoid annual disclosure requirements. Robert McDonnell was sentenced on Jan. 6, 2015 to 24 months in prison.

Former Public Library Contractors Sentenced on Bribery Charges
On Jan. 27, 2015, in Detroit, Michigan, James Henley, of Detroit, and Ricardo Hearn, of Royal Oak, were sentenced to 27 months and 28 months in prison, respectively. Each was also ordered to pay $750,000 in restitution to the Detroit Public Library. Henley and Hearn, both former contractors with the Detroit Public Library, were sentenced on charges of bribery of a public official. Henley also pleaded guilty to failing to file tax returns for the year 2007. According to court documents, Henley and Hearn paid former Detroit Public Library Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Cromer a total of $1.4 million in kickbacks in return for contracts for information technology services with the Detroit Public Library during the period 2007 to 2010. After being confronted by federal law enforcement officials, Henley and Hearn both cooperated in the prosecution of Cromer. On Sept. 16, 2014, Cromer was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $3,913,890 in restitution to the library.

Former Virginia Governor Sentenced to Prison for Public Corruption Scheme
On Jan. 6, 2015, in Richmond, Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell, former Virginia Governor, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, and two years of supervised release. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, were convicted following a jury trial of one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right.  Robert McDonnell was also convicted of three counts of honest-services wire fraud and six counts of obtaining property under color of official right, while Maureen McDonnell was convicted of two counts of honest-services wire fraud and four counts of obtaining property under color of official right. According to the evidence presented at trial, from April 2011 through March 2013, the McDonnells participated in a scheme to use the former governor’s official position to enrich themselves and their family members by soliciting and obtaining payments, loans, gifts and other things of value from Star Scientific and Jonnie R. Williams Sr. The McDonnells obtained these items in exchange for the former governor performing official actions to legitimize, promote and obtain research studies for Star’s products, including the dietary supplement Anatabloc. The McDonnells obtained from Williams more than $170,000 in direct payments as gifts and loans, thousands of dollars in golf outings, and numerous items. As part of the scheme, Robert McDonnell arranged meetings for Williams with Virginia government officials, hosted and attended events at the Governor’s Mansion designed to encourage Virginia university researchers to initiate studies of Star’s products and to promote Star’s products to doctors, contacted other Virginia government officials to encourage Virginia state research universities to initiate studies of Star’s products, and promoted Star’s products and facilitated its relationships with Virginia government officials. The evidence further showed that the McDonnells attempted to conceal the things of value received from Williams and Star by routing gifts and loans through family members and corporate entities controlled by the former governor to avoid annual disclosure requirements. Maureen McDonnell is scheduled to be sentenced on February 20, 2015.

Former Consultant to New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Sentenced For Tax and Fraud Conspiracy
On Dec. 19, 2014, in Manhattan, New York, Melvin Lowe, a former consultant to the New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee ("DSCC"), was sentenced to 36 months in prison and three years’ supervised release. Lowe was convicted in September 2014 for conspiring with New York State Senator John Sampson to defraud the DSCC of $100,000 and for personal income tax offenses. According to court documents, Lowe arranged for a New Jersey-based political consultant to submit a false invoice to the DSCC for $100,000 in printing services. Sampson approved payment of the invoice and the DSCC sent $100,000 to the New Jersey-based consultant. Lowe instructed the consultant to send $75,000 of the proceeds to Lowe's consulting company. Lowe received more than $2.1 million in consulting income from 2007 to 2012. He reported less than $25,000 in income on each of his federal income tax returns for 2007 through 2009, which he did not file until late 2010. Lowe never filed tax returns for 2010 through 2012. He never made any payments toward his taxes for the years 2000 through 2012. Lowe also caused a bank to make a false statement to his mortgage lender regarding the balance in his checking account. When the mortgage lender sent Lowe’s bank a Verification of Deposit form to verify Lowe's claim that he had $65,000 in his checking account, Lowe caused the assistant manager to claim that Lowe's account had a balance of more than $80,000. At that time, the balance in Lowe's checking account was $2,156.

Former Florida County Employee Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On Dec. 17, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Jesus Pons, of Coral Gables, and former employee of the General Services Administration (GSA) of Miami-Dade County, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $556,254 in restitution. On Oct. 15, 2014, Pons pleaded guilty to tax evasion. According to the court documents, Pons was a computer services manager at the GSA of Miami-Dade County. He was responsible for managing and allocating resources to information technology projects for the county and supervising and managing tasks performed by county vendors. From 2007 to 2011, Pons received money in the form of illegal kickback payments from two county vendors, Data Industries and Paradyne Consulting Services. In exchange for these illegal kickbacks, Pons approved payments from Miami-Dade County to the vendors for consulting work that was never performed. Pons did not report the illegal kickbacks on his tax returns. From 2007 through 2011, Pons earned $1,666,998 in income from the scheme that he did not report to the IRS, causing $556,254 in tax loss.

Former Executive Director of Affordable Housing Organization Sentenced for Conspiracy to Steal Federal Funds
On Oct. 17, 2014, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Stacey Jackson was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay over $424,000 in restitution to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and to individual victims, as well as a $50,000 fine. According to court documents, Jackson, the former Executive Director of New Orleans Affordable Homeownership (NOAH), a city agency and non-profit corporation, conspired with others to misuse and personally benefit from federal funds that NOAH had received. HUD, both before and after Hurricane Katrina, provided grant money to the City of New Orleans to address blight within the city and to remediate homes damaged by the storm. Jackson, as the Executive Director of NOAH, was responsible for the day-to-day management of the agency and determined how much each contractor would be paid. Jackson arranged to overpay certain contractors, instructing them to kickback portions of the overpayments to her. Jackson instructed others to pay her kickbacks out of the NOAH money she paid them for work that could not be substantiated by invoices or work actually performed. Additionally, Jackson paid, in part, for a renovation project on property she owned, by using public funds distributed to NOAH. Finally, Jackson provided false and fraudulent documents to a contractor in an effort to mislead the federal grand jury investigation into the fraud.

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