TDD (202) 514-1888
Fact Sheet: the Department of Justice Public Corruption Efforts
"The investigation and prosecution of public corruption is among the
highest obligations of law enforcement, and it should come as no surprise that I
consider it to be one of the top priorities of the Department of Justice. In
recent years, the Department's career prosecutors and criminal investigators
have been engaged in a renewed effort to pursue corruption at all levels and all
branches of government," said Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.
At every level of government, the Justice Department is committed to
enforcing the laws that protect the integrity of our government. Because of this
commitment to the rule of law, ordinary citizens are able to rely on and expect
the honesty and integrity of government officials and other holders of the
Over the last seven years, the Department has enjoyed tremendous success
rooting out corruption and holding public officials who misuse their office or
misspend taxpayer dollars accountable for their actions.
From 2001 to 2006 (the most recent period for which data is available) the
Department of Justice charged 6,899 individuals with public corruption offenses
nationwide and obtained 5,876 convictions. An overview of the Department's
recent activities in this area includes the following:
The Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section
- The Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section was created in 1976 to
consolidate into one unit the Justice Department's responsibilities for the
prosecution of criminal abuses of the public trust by government
- The number of defendants charged by the Public Integrity Section in the
six-year period from 2001 to 2006 increased by 52 percent over the eight year
period from 1993 to 2000, and the number of convictions increased by 31 percent
over the same period.
- From 2001 through 2006, the Public Integrity Section charged 365
individuals with public corruption offenses and obtained 332 convictions. The
year-by-year breakdown is as follows:
|PER YEAR AVG.
- From 1993 to 2000, the Public Integrity Section charged 240 defendants
and obtained 253 convictions. The year-by-year breakdown for that time period
is as follows:
|| Defendants Charged
| PER YEAR AVG.
- The Public Integrity Section works closely with dedicated and specially
trained agents at the FBI to investigate and prosecute public corruption at all
levels of government. The FBI currently has 642 special agents dedicated to
public corruption matters, up from 358 in 2002.
- The Department's renewed commitment to the investigation and prosecution
of public corruption is reflected not so much by an increased case load - though
the Department has, in fact, brought more public corruption cases in recent
years - but rather by the quality, complexity and profile of the cases we have
The U.S. Attorneys' Offices:
- The available numbers for prosecutions of public corruption by U.S.
Attorneys offices nationwide also demonstrate the Department's commitment to
bringing these cases. From 2001 to 2006, the Department charged a total of
6,899 individuals with public corruption and obtained 5,876 convictions*:
|| Defendants Charged
| PER YEAR AVG.
- By way of comparison, in the six-year period from 1995 to 2000, the
Department charged 6,400 individuals with public corruption offenses and
obtained 5,650 public corruption convictions.
|| Defendants Charged
| PER YEAR AVG.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND ONGOING EFFORTS - DOMESTIC
- In February 2008, the Department indicted Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi
and two of his business associates on 27 counts of honest services wire fraud,
extortion, money laundering, and conspiracies to engage in these
- In June 2007, the Department indicted Louisiana Congressman William
Jefferson on public corruption counts, including conspiracy, bribery, honest
services fraud, RICO, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and obstruction
of justice. Rep. Jefferson is the first U.S. government official to be charged
with violations of the FCPA.
- Former California Congressman Randall Cunningham pleaded guilty to
bribery and was sentenced in March 2006 to more than eight years in
- In February 2008, Defense contractor Brent Wilkes was sentenced to 12
years in prison for funneling cash, mortgage payments, cars, meals, luxury
travel and prostitutes to former Congressman Cunningham in return for the
Congressman's assistance in steering contracts to Wilkes' company.
- Defense contractor Mitchell Wade pleaded guilty to bribery, conspiring to
deprive the Defense Department of the honest services of its employees and
election fraud. Wade admitted to making more than $1 million in illegal
payments to Congressman Cunningham, providing illegal benefits to Defense
Department employees and attempting to curry favor with two other members of
Congress by making illegal campaign contributions.
The ongoing Abramoff investigation is being conducted by the Public
Integrity and Fraud Sections of the Criminal Division and has netted 12
convictions thus far, including the following:
- Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty in January 2006 to
conspiracy, honest services fraud and tax evasion.
- Mark D. Zachares, a former high-ranking aide to the U.S. House of
Representatives Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, pleaded guilty in
April 2007 to a one-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit
honest services wire fraud.
- Ohio Congressman Robert Ney pleaded guilty in September 2006 to
conspiracy to commit multiple offenses B including honest services fraud, making
false statements violations of his former chief of staff's one-year lobbying ban
B and to making false statements to the U.S. House of Representatives. Ney was
sentenced to 30 months in prison.
- Former lobbyist Michael Scanlon pleaded guilty in November 2005 to
conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services fraud.
- Former lobbyist Neil Volz pleaded guilty in May 2006 to honest services
fraud and violating the one-year lobbying ban. Volz was sentenced in September
2007 to two years probation and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine. Volz received a
reduced sentence based on his substantial assistance to the government's
- Former lobbyist Tony C. Rudy pleaded guilty in March 2006 to conspiring
with Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and others to commit honest services fraud,
mail and wire fraud, and a violation of conflict of interest post-employment
- William Heaton, former chief of staff for Ohio Congressman Robert Ney,
pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud on Feb. 26,
- On June 8, 2007, Italia Federici, president of the Council of
Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and
obstruction of the U.S. Senate's investigation into the Abramoff
- On Dec. 15, 2005, Adam Kidan pleaded guilty at federal court in Miami
to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. Kidan, a former business
partner of Abramoff's, was sentenced in March 2006 to nearly six years in
Executive Branch Cases:
- In connection with the Abramoff investigation, the Department of Justice
has obtained convictions of the following executive branch
- In March 2007, James Steven Griles, former Deputy Secretary of the
Department of the Interior, pleaded guilty to obstructing the U.S. Senate's
investigation into corruption allegations surrounding Jack Abramoff. Griles was
sentenced to 10 months in prison in June 2007.
- David Safavian, former Chief of Staff to the Administrator of the GSA
was convicted by a jury in June 2006 of submitting false statements to an ethics
official, Inspector General agents and a Senate committee, and of obstructing
the Inspector General's investigation. Safavian was sentenced to 18 months in
- Department of the Interior employee Roger G. Stillwell pleaded guilty
in June 2006 to falsely certifying his executive branch confidential financial
disclosure report and was sentenced to six months of probation.
- On Feb. 28, 2008, Jeffrey H. Stayton, the former Chief of the Aviation
Division for the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC), was sentenced to
63 months imprisonment following his conviction on charges arising from
participation in an honest services wire fraud scheme and a related obstruction
of justice. As an ATEC official, Stayton took actions that favored the
selection of co-defendant William C. Childree's company, Maverick Aviation,
Inc., for a contract worth approximately $4.7 million and misled government
officials about Maverick's performance under the contract.
- In March 2007, Kenneth Harvey, the former Chief of the Acquisition
Logistics and Field Support Branch within the Army's Intelligence and Security
Command (INSCOM), was sentenced to 72 months in prison for accepting more than
$40,000 in bribes from a defense contractor.
- In February 2007, Steven Merkes, a former Department of Defense employee,
pleaded guilty to accepting illegal gratuities B including $24,000 in cash and a
job offer B in return for official acts while working as an operational support
planner in the Future Operations Division of the U.S. Army Headquarters, Special
Significant State and Local Convictions:
- There has been a commensurate increase in the quality, complexity and
profile of the cases being brought.
- To date, there have been seven criminal convictions arising out of the
ongoing investigation into public corruption in the State of
- James Clark, chief of staff to the former governor of Alaska, pleaded
guilty in February 2008 to conspiracy to commit honest services mail and wire
fraud, and is awaiting sentencing.
- In December 2007, Peter Kott, a former Speaker of the Alaska House of
Representatives, was sentenced to six years in prison following his October 2007
conviction for extortion, bribery and conspiracy.
- In October 2007 Thomas T. Anderson, a former elected member of the
Alaska House of Representatives, was sentenced to five years in prison following
his conviction on seven counts of extortion, conspiracy, bribery and money
- Victor H. Kohring, a former elected member of the Alaska House of
Representatives, was convicted at trial in November 2007 for attempted
extortion, bribery and conspiracy, and is awaiting sentencing.
- Additionally, three private individuals B Bill J. Allen, Richard L.
Smith and former Anchorage lobbyist William Bobrick B have pleaded guilty to
felony public corruption. Allen and Smith, former VECO Corporation executives,
provided illegal financial benefits to multiple Alaska elected officials in
exchange for those officials' support on legislation pending before the Alaska
- On Feb. 27, 2008, in the District of the Virgin Islands, a jury convicted
Dean C. Plaskett, a Commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Planning
and Natural Resources, and Marc A. Biggs, a Commissioner of the Department of
Property and Procurement, of demanding and accepting bribes. Plaskett also was
convicted of obstructing justice. The defendants accepted bribes and kickbacks
in exchange for awarding approximately $1.4 million in government contracts and
authorizing more than $1 million in progress payments to contractors who did
little or no work. To date, five other high level Virgin Islands officials and
a businessman from Georgia have been convicted for their roles in this bribery
and kickback scheme.
- Former Governor of Illinois George Ryan, was convicted by a jury in April
2006 on numerous charges including racketeering and honest services fraud. Ryan
was sentenced to 78 months in prison. The conviction was affirmed by the Seventh
Circuit in August 2007.
- Former Governor of Alabama Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO
Richard Scrushy, were convicted by a jury in June 2006 of conspiracy, bribery
and mail fraud. Seigelman was sentenced in June 2007 to serve 88 months in
prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. Also in June 2007, Scrushy was
sentenced to 82 months in prison and ordered to pay a $150,000 fine. Both men
are appealing their convictions.
- Former Mayor of Atlanta Bill Campbell, was convicted by a jury in March
2006 on tax evasion charges. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison in June
- Former Secretary General Marcos Morell-Corrada and gubernatorial campaign
manager Rene Vazquez-Botet of the New Progressive Party in Puerto Rico were
convicted of conspiracy, extortion and tax fraud by a jury in November 2006 and
sentenced to 60 months in prison.
- In 2002, the Attorney General established a Ballot Access and Voting
Integrity Initiative to spearhead the Department's efforts to combat election
fraud and civil rights violations involving voting. To further these goals, the
initiative requires annual training of federal prosecutors in the areas of voter
fraud and voting rights.
- Since the initiative began, the Department of Justice has charged 148
persons with voter fraud and convicted 102 defendants.
- Non-citizens have been convicted of voting-related offenses in Florida,
Colorado, North Carolina and Oregon.
- Vote buying schemes have been successfully prosecuted in Illinois,
Kentucky and North Carolina, and persons have been convicted for multiple voting
in Kansas and South Dakota.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND ONGOING EFFORTS - INTERNATIONAL
- The Department has established a unified and coordinated approach for
prosecuting procurement fraud cases associated with Iraqi reconstruction
efforts, forming the National Procurement Fraud Task Force, which uses the
resources of the Antitrust Division and the Criminal Division (particularly the
Public Integrity Section, the Fraud Section, the Office of International Affairs
and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section) and the U.S. Attorneys'
- Among other things, this task force focuses on combating procurement fraud
associated with government spending on the war in Iraq. To date, 46 individuals
and companies have been charged with contract fraud related to the global war on
- This effort is producing significant results:
- On Jan. 25, 2008, Wallace Ward, a fuel technician employed by the company
KBR, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and accept bribes in connection
with a scheme to divert to the black market in Afghanistan more than $2 million
in fuel intended for Bagram Airfield. On Feb. 7, 2008, James Sellman, another
KBR fuel technician participating in the conspiracy, pleaded guilty to the same
- On Jan. 23, 2008, Elie Samir Chidiac and Raman International Inc. were
indicted on charges of conspiring to bribe a military contracting officer in
Iraq. Chidiac is also charged with participating in a scheme with a
co-conspirator military officer to alter contracting documents to allow Chidiac
to fraudulently obtain payment for work not performed, which he then split with
the officer. A preliminary audit indicates the contracting officer received more
than $400,000 from Chidiac. Trial is scheduled for June 9, 2008.
- On Nov. 20, 2007, Terry Hall, a civilian contractor, was indicted by a
federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for allegedly soliciting bribes
while working at Camp Arifjan, an Army base in Kuwait. The indictment charges
that Hall's companies received more than $20 million worth of military contracts
for providing, among other things, bottled water to the U.S. military in
- On Nov.14, 2007, Chevron Corporation and its subsidiaries agreed to pay
$30 million in a settlement with the Southern District of New York, having
admitted to obtaining Iraqi oil under the U.N. Oil for Food Program from third
parties that paid secret, illegal surcharges to the former government of
- On Aug. 22, 2007, U.S. Army Major John Cockerham, his wife Melissa
Cockerham, and Cockerham's sister, Carolyn Blake, were indicted in federal court
in San Antonio on charges of bribery, money laundering and conspiracy. All
three defendants accepted millions of dollars in bribe payments on Major
Cockerham's behalf, in return for his awarding contracts to corrupt contractors.
Cash bribes paid to the defendants totaled approximately $9.6
- In July 2007, John Allen Rivard, a former major in the U.S. Army Reserve,
pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery and money laundering in connection with
his accepting bribes for his fraudulent awarding and administration of U.S.
government contracts in Balad, Iraq. Rivard admitted to receiving more than
$220,000 in bribe payments, as well as to laundering illegal proceeds. On Oct.
19, 2007, Rivard was sentenced to 120 months in prison and three years of
- On Feb. 7, 2007, U.S. Army Col. Curtis G. Whiteford, U.S. Army Lt. Cols.
Debra M. Harrison and Michael B. Wheeler, and civilians Michael Morris and
William Driver were indicted for various crimes related to a scheme to defraud
the CPA - South Central Region in al-Hillah, Iraq. The charges include
conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, interstate transportation of stolen
property, bulk cash smuggling, tax fraud, and firearms violations.
* The numbers for 2005 were skewed as a result of Operation
Lively Green, a large-scale undercover investigation into bribery and extortion
by military personnel and law enforcement officials along the southwest
- One of the Department's most potent weapons in combating foreign
corruption is the FCPA. Since 2001, the Department has substantially increased
its focus on FCPA violations. In 2007, the Department brought 16 enforcement
actions, compared to four in 2002. While enforcement actions against
corporations have increased, so too have prosecutions of individuals. In 2007,
eight individual defendants either were indicted or pleaded guilty. Three
important FCPA prosecutions brought in 2007 were the cases against Baker Hughes,
Congressman William Jefferson and Vetco International.
- On Apr. 26, 2007, Baker Hughes Services International Inc. entered into
a deferred prosecution agreement and its subsidiary, Baker Hughes Incorporated,
pleaded guilty to violating the FCPA, conspiracy to violate the FCPA, and aiding
and abetting the falsification of the books and records of its parent company
Baker Hughes. As part of the agreements, BHSI agreed to an $11 million fine
which, when considered in conjunction with penalties and disgorgement of profits
imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, constitutes the largest
collective penalty ever imposed in an FCPA case, a total of $44
- On Feb. 6, 2007, three subsidiaries of Vetco International Ltd. pleaded
guilty, and a fourth subsidiary entered into a deferred prosecution agreement,
in connection with violations of the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA that
involved making approximately $2.1 million in corrupt payments to Nigerian
government officials over a two-year period. As part of the plea and deferred
prosecution agreements, the three subsidiaries paid a total of $26 million in
criminal fines, the largest criminal fine to-date in an FCPA
- In addition to charges brought under the FCPA anti-bribery provisions
more than $24 million in penalties have been levied by the Department in cases
involving suppliers of humanitarian goods under the U.N. Oil for Food program.
Because these cases have, thus far, involved payments to the government of Iraq
as opposed to an individual Iraqi official, FCPA bribery charges have not been
brought. Instead, cases have included charges of wire fraud and violations of
the books and records provisions of the FCPA. The two most recent enforcement
actions concerning the U.N. Oil for Food Program were against AB Volvo and
- On March 20, 2008, AB Volvo agreed to pay a $7 million penalty as part
of an agreement with the Department regarding charges brought against AB Volvo
subsidiaries Renault Trucks and Volvo Construction Equipment AB (VCE) for
separate conspiracies to commit wire fraud and to violate the books and records
provisions of the FCPA. Employees and agents of Renault Trucks paid a total of
approximately $5 million in kickbacks to the Iraqi government for a total of
approximately 61 million euros worth of contracts with various Iraqi ministries.
Volvo Construction Equipment International AB the predecessor to VCE, and its
distributors were awarded a total of approximately $13.8 million worth of
contracts in return for approximately $1.3 million in kickbacks.
- Flowserve Corporation entered into a three-year deferred prosecution
agreement and agreed to pay a $4 million penalty resulting from kickbacks paid
to the Iraqi government by employees and agents of its subsidiary, Flowserve
Pompes SAS, to obtain contracts with Iraqi ministries for the sale of
large-scale water pumps and spare parts for use in Iraqi oil refineries.
* These numbers reflect data that is compiled from annual nationwide surveys of
the United States Attorneys' Offices by the Public Integrity Section.