WASHINGTON, D.C. – A former legislative assistant to a member of the U.S. Congress was sentenced to 96 months in prison on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and aiding and abetting the solicitation of bribes by a member of Congress, the Department of Justice announced today.
Brett M. Pfeffer, 37, of Herndon, Virginia, was sentenced this morning at U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia before the Honorable T.S. Ellis, III. In addition to the prison sentence, Pfeffer was fined $24,000. Pfeffer pleaded guilty in January 2006 and agreed to cooperate with law enforcement officials in an ongoing criminal investigation. In his plea, Pfeffer admitted to facts contained in a two-count criminal information.
From 1995 through 1998, Pfeffer was employed as a legislative assistant by a member of the U.S. Congress, referred to in the information as “Representative A,” and by 2004, he began work as president of an investment company based in McLean, Virginia, which was controlled by an individual who later became a cooperating witness for the government, referred to in the information as the “CW.”
Pfeffer, as a representative of the CW, admitted that he was solicited by Representative A for bribes in return for Representative A’s agreement to perform various official acts to promote a deal for a Kentucky-based company to provide broadband services, including high-speed Internet service and cable television service, to the country of Nigeria over the existing copper wire telephone line infrastructure operated by the government-controlled Nigerian Telephone Company. Pfeffer passed along these bribe solicitations from Representative A to the CW. Pfeffer acknowledged in the plea agreement that he stood to make significant financial gains through his employment arrangement with CW and CW’s company in the event Representative A’s official acts were successful in promoting the deal in Nigeria. The information also charged that in exchange for certain bribes, Representative A performed official acts designed to promote a similar telecommunications business deal planned to be implemented in the country of Ghana.
The case is being prosecuted by Mark D. Lytle and Rebeca H. Bellows, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria, Virginia and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael K. Atkinson of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington. The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.