ARMY SPACE AND MISSILE DEFENSE COMMAND ENGINEER SENTENCED TO 20 MONTHS FOR ACCEPTING BRIBES
BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced a Scottsboro man to 20 months in prison for 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.
U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced STEVEN EARL BRYANT, 39, to prison, ordered him to pay $200,000 in restitution to the government and fined him $5,000.
Bryant pleaded guilty in July 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.
“Mr. Bryant was a public official with the U.S. Army who accepted payments in return for preferential treatment of private contractors,” Vance said. “By selling his influence in that job for personal gain, he violated the contracting process and the Army’s trust. Protecting the military, and the American taxpayer, from this type fraud is a priority of this Justice Department and my office,” she said.
“The sentence handed down today shows that influence peddling in all its forms will not be tolerated in North Alabama,” Maley said. “The FBI stands ready to pursue any government official who would violate the trust placed in them as contracting officers. Citizens should expect that individuals in a position to spend tax dollars will do so in accordance with the law, and not line their own pockets.”
“Tax evasion is not a victimless crime, as we all pay when others swindle the government,” McDaniel said. “This sentence should send a clear message that a scheme to evade payment of taxes is a violation of federal tax laws and the consequences of such schemes can and will result in jail time."
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 sentenced Darling in July 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 U.S. 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 prosecuted the case.
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