Former Government Consultant Indicted on Federal Charges in Bribery and Fraud Scheme
Defendant Allegedly Bribed D.C. Government Employee to Cash in on Contracts
WASHINGTON – A consultant and independent contractor for a company that did business with the District of Columbia Department of Human Resources was indicted today on charges that he paid more than $140,000 in bribes to a former D.C. government employee and that he stole payments on city contracts that should have gone to his employer.
John Woods, 56, of Sterling, Va., was indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on three counts of wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud, one count of bribery, and two counts of engaging in illegal monetary transactions. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking all proceeds of the alleged crimes. Woods will be arraigned on the charges on a date to be determined by the Court.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Nancy McNamara, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and District of Columbia Inspector General Daniel W. Lucas.
According to the indictment, Woods worked as a consultant and independent contractor for a firm identified in the court documents as “Company A.” The firm had agreements with the District of Columbia Department of Human Resources (DCHR) to provide organizational skills training courses and human resources consulting to various D.C. government agencies. Woods was the company’s main point of contact with DCHR and handled the submission of invoices.
The indictment alleges that, beginning in April 2013, and continuing through August 2017, Woods schemed to defraud “Company A” and the D.C. government.
As part of the scheme, according to the indictment, between April 2013 and February 2015, Woods stole $214,910 in D.C. government checks that were issued to “Company A.” Beginning in March 2015, the indictment alleges, Woods began usurping “Company A’s” role under the contracts and keeping the profits for himself. The indictment alleges that Woods fraudulently deposited approximately 27 checks issued by the D.C. government to “Company A” into a bank account he controlled, totaling approximately $1,040,023, from March 2015 through August 2017.
In order to keep his scheme in place, the indictment alleges that Woods paid more than $140,000 in bribes to Latasha Moore, then a DCHR employee. As a resource allocation analyst, Moore was the main point of contact for “Company A” and in a position to ensure that no complaints or suspicions about the contracts reached others in the government. For example, Moore failed to report problems that arose while Woods was managing the work, including complaints of contractors arriving late, leaving early or failing to show up at all for training.
Moore, 38, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty on Oct. 11, 2018 to a federal bribery charge. She is awaiting sentencing.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
Mail fraud and wire fraud charges carry statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. The bribery charge carries a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison, and the charge involving illegal monetary transactions carries a statutory maximum of 10 years. The charges also carry potential financial penalties. The maximum statutory sentence for federal offenses is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. The sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Office of the Inspector General of the District of Columbia. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Marando, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.