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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Web of Corruption


In this case, he couldn't be a corrupt public employee without corrupting other people. This true crime is about a web of corruption at the public’s expense.


This saga began with a man who held the position of Deputy Director of Operations for a large urban city’s Public Works Division. He later promoted to the Public Works Director of Operations (DPW). He played a pertinent role in the city’s business and policy, including public contracts, permits and construction projects.


As he became more comfortable in his powerful position, he began asking for bribes in return for approved bids, approved permits, construction services, etc. His reign of corruption lasted approximately ten years.


A representative from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, associated with the case, said,


“Corruption happens in the shadows, often with the help of professional enablers who perpetuate fraudulent schemes and the corrupt who lauder and hide their illicit wealth.”

Co-Conspirators:


Construction Business

A large construction company became a partner-in-crime with the DPW. In exchange for approved contracts, successful bids, and inside information about how to tailor a bid to be the winner, they worked on his properties for no cost. Labor and materials provided by the construction company to improve his home and a second home, a ranch in a different county.


Besides the home improvements, the DPW also accepted paid international trips for him and his girlfriend, stays in fancy hotels, and envelopes of cash.


The owner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and wire fraud. Agreed to settle and pay the city over $1.4 million.


Refuse Business

As the DPW, he worked alongside the local refuse collection and disposal company. In exchange for supporting rate hikes and operational changes, the vice president provided the DPW with materials for his ranch, expensive meals, and travel. And they employed the DPW’s son.


The owner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and wire fraud. Sentencing scheduled for later 2023. Facing up to 20 years in prison and fines.


Restaurant Business

In exchange for winning bids to place his restaurant at the city’s international airport and for approved city contracts, a prominent restaurant owner paid the DPW thousands of dollars from proceeds earned from city concessions and contracts, provided free meals and entertainment for the DPW, his family and associates, and thousands of dollars in free appliances sent to the DPW’s ranch.


The owner pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and wire fraud. Sentencing scheduled for later 2023. Facing up to 20 years in prison and fines.


Recycling Business

The owner of a local recycling business who the city contracted to dispose of construction debris gave the DPW a watch valued over $35,000 for approval of the city contract.


The owner pleaded guilty to bribery and making false statements. A federal judge sentenced her to one year plus one day in prison and pay a fine of over $90,000.


Civil Engineering Business

In exchange for favorable treatment of business interests and inside information to secure contracts, a local Civil Engineer Business President and Vice President paid bribes of cash, free meals, entertainment, equipment for the DPW’s ranch, and a portion of their future profits.


A co-founder and president pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and wire fraud. A federal judge sentenced him to 2 years in prison and pay a fine of over $120,000.


The vice president pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and wire fraud but has not been sentenced.


Another co-founder also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and wire fraud. A federal judge sentenced him to 2 years in prison and pay a fine of over $120,000.


The current City Attorney has initiated debarment proceedings against the businesses. He said,


“Our public integrity work has exposed a web of corrupt actors trying to cheat the system and undermine our contracting process at the expense of taxpayers.”

Those listed above are a few of the people involved in this Web of Corruption. The additional players include more city officials.


A Special Agent associated with the case said,


“We will not tolerate public corruption and will hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.”

As for the 59-year-old former Director of Public Works, he pleaded guilty to defrauding the public of its right to his honest services. A federal judge sentenced him to seven years in prison, three years of supervised release, and forfeit his vacation ranch.


Source: United States District Court, U.S. Department of Justice, City Attorney of San Francisco, CBS Bay Area, Courthouse News, Mission Local

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