FORMER MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO ACCEPTING BRIBES
Civilian Employee Conspired with Upholstery Shop Owner Splitting More than $50,000 from Fake Billings
LUIS CRUZ, 43, of Lakewood, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to Accepting a Bribe to Aid in the Commission of a Fraud on the United States. CRUZ was employed as a Tool and Parts Attendant at the U.S. Army’s Madigan Medical Center until he was fired in April 2005, for drug use. Following his dismissal, an investigation revealed that CRUZ had been using his government-issue credit card to pay for services never ordered or received by the military. Working with a co-conspirator who processed the charges, CRUZ and the co-conspirator pocketed more than $50,000 in cash for which they had falsely billed the government. CRUZ has agreed to pay $52,297 in restitution.
According to the plea agreement, CRUZ conspired with the owner of Bobbin’s Custom Upholstery to bill the government for work that was never done. CRUZ would fabricate documents for service or repair of equipment, when no such work had been done. Payment would be made via the government credit card, and processed through Bobbin’s Custom Upholstery. CRUZ and Bobbin’s owner would split the cash generated in the scheme. In some instances, CRUZ would overpay for services that were rendered, and the two men would split the extra cash. More than $52,000 in charges on CRUZ’ government issued credit card was processed through Bobbin’s credit card processing company using this scheme.
Accepting a Bribe is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. CRUZ is scheduled for sentencing on October 16, 2007.
The case is being investigated by United States Army Criminal Investigation Division Command (USACIDC), Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU), and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Reese Jennings.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.