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Press Release

Federal Government Employee Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud Local Agencies to Benefit His Private Company

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

            WASHINGTON – Ifediora Oli, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pled guilty today to conspiring with other public officials to defraud the District of Columbia and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) of money, property, and their employees’ honest services. As a result of the conspiracy, a private company owned and operated by Oli improperly received over $1 million.

            The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Scott of the Washington Field Office Criminal and Cyber Division, Inspector General Michelle A. Zamarin of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Office of Inspector General, and Inspector General Daniel W. Lucas of the D.C. Office of the Inspector General.

            Oli, 41 of Silver Spring, Maryland, pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit money, property, and honest services wire fraud, and one count of falsifying records. U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan scheduled sentencing for October 16.

            In related cases, co-defendants Bridgette Crowell and Obinna Ogbu also pleaded guilty to conspiring with Oli to defraud the District and WMATA. 

            According to court documents, during the conspiracy—which was carried out between 2018 and 2023—Oli was employed at USDA while separately acting as the Principal of Highbury Global Group, Inc. (Highbury). Ogbu was employed at WMATA as an information technology (IT) customer support manager who sometimes also served as a WMATA contracting officer’s technical representative (COTR) on certain WMATA contracts.  Crowell was a public employee who managed contracts at the District’s Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP) and, before that, WMATA. 

            Beginning in 2018, Oli and Ogbu agreed to use Ogbu’s official position and connection to Crowell to steer funds from WMATA IT-related contracts to Highbury. As part of the conspiracy, Oli and Ogbu agreed to commit bribery. Specifically, Oli and Ogbu agreed that Oli would give Ogbu things of value in exchange for Ogbu misusing his position at WMATA to benefit Oli. By 2023, Oli and Highbury had received nearly $500,000 through this corrupt scheme.

            Crowell also misused her official position at OCP and agreed with Oli to commit bribery as part of the conspiracy. In January 2021, OCP began the process of helping the District’s Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) hire a vendor to provide DFS with COVID-19 testing supplies. In her official capacity at OCP, Crowell managed the contract solicitation, offer, and award. Crowell alerted Oli and Ogbu to the contracting opportunity; provided them with non-public information about the solicitation, including information regarding contract pricing; and steered the contract to Highbury. The District ultimately paid Highbury over $630,000 under the contract. In return, Oli paid Ogbu over $100,000 and instructed Ogbu to give $15,000 of the money in cash to Crowell in exchange for her corrupt acts.

            Oli also pleaded guilty to unlawfully falsifying an annual financial disclosure record related to his USDA employment. As a USDA employee, Oli was required to complete an annual “Confidential Financial Disclosure Report” on a U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) form referred to as the “OGE Form 450.” Oli admitted that he repeatedly falsified his annual OGE Form 450 filings to hinder the USDA’s ability to identify, investigate, and assess his activities with Highbury and any conflict of interests they may have caused.

            The investigation into this matter was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with the WMATA Office of the Inspector General, and the District of Columbia Office of the Inspector General. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Visser of the Fraud, Public Corruption, and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.


Updated July 8, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-563