Former Contracting Officer Sentenced for Bribery Conspiracy
A New Jersey woman was sentenced today to two years in prison for engaging in a bribery and procurement fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Diane D. Sturgis, 62, of Glassboro, served as a contracting officer for in the International Broadcast Bureau, Office of Contracts, of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (the BBG) until September 2017. In that capacity, Sturgis, among other things, supervised several contracts awarded to a Virginia information technology and data management firm, including a blanket purchase agreement.
In September 2014, the BBG and the U.S. Department of Defense used the firm’s blanket purchase agreement to issue a task order that subsequently served as a vehicle for procuring millions of dollars in services from the firm. In November 2014, Sturgis and the firm’s owner used the same task order to fill several contracting positions in Sturgis’ office in exchange for initial payments totaling at least $330,000. Sturgis and the firm’s owner agreed that the firm would nominally hire Sturgis’ relative to fill one of these positions in exchange for Sturgis giving the firm preferential treatment.
Between December 2014 and June 2015, the firm issued four payments to Sturgis’ relative totaling $30,000. The relative performed no consulting work in exchange for these payments; instead, Sturgis prepared the periodic consulting reports and accompanying invoices for the relative and instructed the relative to save the periodic reports and invoices on the relative’s computer and then submit the invoices for payment. The firm sought approval for payments from the BBG, which Sturgis authorized and approved.
On July 28, 2020, Sturgis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud. As part of her sentencing today, Sturgis was ordered to pay $45,000 in restitution and a $10,000 fine.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh of the Eastern District of Virginia; Special Agent in Charge Elisabeth Heller of the U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General; and Assistant Director Steven M. D’Antuono of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
The Department of State, Office of Inspector General and the FBI investigated the case.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Senior Litigation Counsel Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section prosecuted the case.