WASHINGTON—Charity Keys, 45, of Bowie, Maryland, was sentenced today to 12 months in prison for engaging in a scheme – with a co-worker - to defraud the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS). Keys accepted more than $42,500 in kickbacks from a contractor in exchange for directing purchase agreements and orders to the contractor and then falsely certifying that goods that FEMS had paid for had been delivered when, in fact, they had not.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Special Agent in Charge Wayne A. Jacobs, of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal and Cyber Division, and Daniel W. Lucas, Inspector General for the District of Columbia.
Keys, who was a supply management specialist for FEMS, pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge on July 18, 2022, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta ordered 36 months of supervised release with the first six months on home confinement, restitution in the amount of $257,680, a $42,500 forfeiture money judgment, and 100 hours of community service. Her co-defendant, Louis “Joey” Mitchell, III, was sentenced on September 16, 2022, to 34 months in prison.
Keys’ responsibilities included procuring office supplies and other goods for the department. According to the court documents, between 2016 and 2020, Keys and Mitchell, 51, who was an FEMS warehouse supply technician, engaged in a bribery scheme with a contractor whose company was an approved vendor for various supplies. Keys and Mitchell solicited and received bribes from the contractor on at least seven occasions. In exchange, Keys and Mitchell directed purchase orders to the contractor’s company and confirmed delivery and payment for goods that the company did not provide. As a result of the bribery scheme, FEMS paid the company approximately $250,000 for goods that never were delivered. Keys personally collected at least $42,500 in bribes from the contractor.
Law enforcement opened an investigation after FEMS officials discovered procurement anomalies and referred the matter to the District of Columbia Office of the Inspector General and the FBI. Mitchell and Keys were arrested on February 10, 2022.
This case was investigated by FBI’s Washington Field Office and D.C. Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth Aloi and Christopher R. Howland in the Fraud, Public Corruption, and Civil Rights section.