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Press Release

Final Defendant Pleads Guilty in Bid-Rigging Conspiracy Involving Government Contracts

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Loraine Dixon, 61, of Granite Bay, pleaded guilty today to a conspiracy to commit bid rigging, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Dixon conspired with John Brewer, 50, of San Francisco, and Brent Vinch, 49, of New York, to rig the state of California’s competitive bidding process. Dixon was a regional representative for a software company that produced software used by several California state agencies. Brewer and Vinch were the owners of, and senior executives for, a company called Expert Network Consultants (ENC), which submitted bids to the state for various government contracts, including contracts to supply the software produced by Dixon’s employer.

Working together, Dixon, Brewer, and Vinch thwarted the competitive bidding process in order to ensure that ENC won contracts with California agencies to supply the software in question. The process requires that any IT purchase over $4,999 and not advertised must obtain at least two bids from prospective sellers, and the contract must be awarded to the lowest bidder. Brewer solicited bids from individuals and companies that had no intention or ability to perform the work called for in the contracts, and Brewer directed Vinch to create and submit non-competitive bids. Dixon often directed Brewer and Vinch to create, collect, or submit bids to certain agencies, and on other occasions advised them on how to act in bidding. Dixon solicited cash and wine from Brewer and Vinch to continue steering contracts to them and advising them on the non-competitive bidding process, and she joined ENC as an employee in 2012.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Yelovich prosecuted the case. The California Attorney General’s Office conducted the initial investigation into this matter.

Brewer was sentenced on April 26, 2018, to 15 months in prison.

Dixon is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. on Oct. 31. Vinch is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 9, 2020. They each face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Updated August 8, 2019

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 2:16-cr-239 MCE