PROJECT ENGINEER AND
TWO FORMER PRIME CONTRACTOR EMPLOYEES ARE SENTENCED ON
CONSPIRACY TO BRIBE STATE OFFICIAL
JEFFERY MARTIN BENTLEY, a/k/a Jeff Bentley, age 52, of Muscadine, Alabama, a former employee of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and de facto project engineer on a project for widening and improvements to the Interstate 10 highway in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, ALBERT F. ANDRE JR., a/k/a Buddy Andre, age 53, of Slidell, Louisiana, and JASON ADRIAN GUY, age 38 of Madisonville, Louisiana, both former employees of the prime contractor, were sentenced today by U. S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on their guilty pleas to Conspiracy to Bribe a State Official in Connection with a Program Receiving Federal Funds announced United States Attorney Jim Letten.
Specifically, BENTLEY was sentenced to sixty ( 60) months imprisonment and ordered to pay his proportionate share of the unpaid restitution of $57,551.95. In addition, the defendant was ordered to serve three (3) years of supervised release during which time he will be under federal supervision and risk additional imprisonment should he violate any terms of the release. ANDRE was sentenced to thirty (30) months imprisonment and ordered to pay his proportionate share of the unpaid restitution of $57,551.95. In addition, the defendant was ordered to serve three (3) years of supervised release during which time he will be under federal supervision and risk additional imprisonment should he violate any terms of the release. GUY was sentenced to six (6) months imprisonment, followed by three (3) years home confinement during which time he can only leave home for employment, child care, or to attend to medical care needs. He was also to pay his proportionate share of unpaid restitution of $57,551.95 and serve three (3) years of supervised release during which time he will be under federal supervision and risk additional imprisonment should he violate any terms of the release and a special assessment.
A fourth defendant, HARRY JOSEPH LABICHE, JR., the plumbing subcontractor on the project, was sentenced by Judge Lemmon previously and is now serving a term of imprisonment of 27 months.
According to court documents, Boh Brothers Construction Company was the prime contractor on a $72 million project for construction and improvement of Interstate 10 in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, 90% of which was financed by the U.S. government (“The I-10 Project”). The contract was being overseen by the DOTD. BENTLEY was employed by DOTD and served as the de facto project engineer of The I-10 Project. During the spring of 2008, BENTLEY and ANDRE noted that the contract for The I-10 Project allowed up to $330,000 to be expended on pipe cleaning. If pipe cleaning were performed by a subcontractor rather than by employees of Boh Brothers, invoices could be inflated and the profits split among them.
In late summer 2008, BENTLEY and ANDRE arranged for LABICHE’s plumbing company to perform work cleaning pipes on the I-10 Project. After LABICHE’s plumbing company had been paid by Boh Brothers for the work, LABICHE, BENTLEY and ANDRE split the amount paid which exceeded the actual cost to perform the pipe cleaning. Later, GUY was recruited into the scheme to approve LABICHE’s invoices for cleaning pipe so that the invoices would be paid by Boh Brothers.
In all, a total of $323,422.55 in invoices were submitted to Boh Brothers for services allegedly rendered in cleaning pipe on the I-10 Project. Of that amount, a total of $228,337 was paid by Boh Brothers. LABICHE acknowledged in the course of prior proceedings that at most, the value of the work actually performed by his employees was $28,837.
Before paying the last invoices submitted by LABICHE’s plumbing company, Boh Brothers determined that the pipe cleaning work billed for on those invoices from LABICHE’s plumbing company had not, in fact, been performed. Therefore, Boh Brothers did not pay those invoices, and issued a credit to the State of Louisiana for the full amount it had previously billed the State for pipe cleaning allegedly performed by LABICHE. The four defendants have acknowledged that Boh Brothers is entitled to an award of restitution for the amount it repaid the State of Louisiana.
In the course of pleading guilty to the conspiracy charges BENTLEY admitted receiving the sum of $106,330, some of which he paid to his co-conspirators. ANDRE admitted receiving the sum of $28,627, and GUY admitted receiving the sum of $9,000.
The four defendants had faced a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years on the conspiracy charge, a fine of $250,000.00, and up to three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. The defendants also faced forfeiture of any and all proceeds of the criminal violation. Defendant Guy agreed to forfeit one Rolex men’s watch in his agreement with the Government.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Louisiana State Police. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Eileen Gleason.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org