ARMY SPACE AND MISSILE DEFENSE COMMAND ENGINEER PLEADS GUILTY TO ACCEPTING BRIBES
BIRMINGHAM – A Scottsboro man pleaded guilty today in federal court to accepting bribes when he worked as an engineer with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, and to evading payment of taxes on the bribery income, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Pat Maley and IRS Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Investigations, Reginael McDaniel announced.
STEVEN EARL BRYANT, 39, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor to being a public official who accepted bribes in relation to Space and Missile Defense Command contracts with private companies that were supposed to provide material for missile defense research. He also pleaded guilty to evading taxes of $33,370 on $110,694 of unreported income for the 2006 calendar year. The charges were brought in a two-count information filed in federal court in May. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.
“Mr. Bryant was a public official with the U.S. Army who was willing to sell his influence in that job in order to enrich himself,” Vance said. “By accepting payments in return for preferential treatment of private contractors, he violated the contracting process and the Army’s trust, and enabled a larger fraud. Protecting the military, and the American taxpayer, from this type fraud is a priority of this Justice Department and my office,” she said.
“Individuals thinking about participating in fraudulent schemes, including failing to report all forms of income, should stop in their tracks and simply look at the consequences of taking the next step,” McDaniel said. “Those consequences include going to jail, being branded a convicted felon for the rest of their lives, and paying back all the taxes owed, plus steep penalties and interest."
Court documents in the case relate the following: BRYANT was a public official from 2002 to 2010 while he worked as an engineer with the missile defense command at Redstone Arsenal. In that capacity, he acted as the Technical Representative for Contracting Officers on Space and Missile Defense Command contracts for items and material for missile defense research supplied by private businesses. Among the contracts monitored by BRYANT were contracts between the missile defense command and companies owned by Maurice Subilia, Dennis Darling and Paul Hurlburt, who have already pleaded guilty on other charges.
Between 2002 and November 2006, according to BRYANT’s plea agreement, he received about $200,000 in return for and with the intent of being influenced in his job involving contracts between the missile defense command and companies that were paying him bribes.
Subilia and Hurlburt pleaded guilty in federal court in Maine in 2009 to conspiracy charges in connection to procurement fraud in contracts their companies had with the missile defense command in Huntsville. Subilia, who also pleaded guilty to money laundering and bribery charges, admitted he paid more than $1.2 million in bribes, from 2000 to 2007, to missile defense command employees Michael Cantrell and Douglas Ennis.
Darling pleaded guilty in 2008 to a federal bribery charge in Alabama. His engineering company had contracts with the missile defense command from 2005 through 2007. Judge Proctor on July 1 sentenced Darling to two years in prison, to be followed by three years supervised release. He fined Darling $6,000 and ordered him to pay $100,000 in restitution.
Cantrell was the director and Ennis the deputy director for the Joint Center for Technology Integration at the missile defense command. Both men pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiracy and other charges related to the procurement fraud scheme. Cantrell was sentenced in December 2009 to five years in prison and ordered to pay $2.5 million in restitution and $352,145 in back taxes. Ennis was sentenced in June to two years in prison and ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the IRS, with assistance from the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Army Criminal Investigative Division Fraud Team and Defense Criminal Investigative Service of the Department of Defense.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant is prosecuting the case.
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