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Press Release

Romanian Business Owner Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison for Bribery of a Public Official

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley sentenced Dumitru Martin, 55, of Romania, today to 13 years in prison for conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery of a public official, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Martin owned and operated a Romanian company called Polaris M. Holdings. Co-defendants Anamaria Cruceru, 49; Constantin Schiller, 63; and Marcelle Banaga, 41, all of Romania, were employees of Polaris. Between June 2014 and December 2015, Martin, Cruceru, Schiller, and Banaga conspired with each other to bribe a high-level United States Air Force (USAF) contracting officer in an effort to win multiple multimillion-dollar contracts for Polaris. The defendants offered to pay the contracting officer a bribe, which they called a “commission,” equal to 10 percent of the amount of any contract awarded. The defendants also suggested that the contracting officer use a fictitious consulting contract and other commercial contracts and documents to conceal payment of the bribe.

In July 2015, the defendants caused Polaris to submit a bid to the USAF to supply storage containers to the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania. The contract was valued at over $10 million. In September 2015, Martin traveled to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California to sign the documents relating to the bid as well the fictitious contracts meant to conceal various bribe payments totaling just over $1 million. Thereafter, as part of the conspiracy, the defendants caused Polaris to wire $100,000 from Romania to a bank account in the United States as the initial bribe payment to the USAF contracting officer. Unbeknownst to the defendants, the USAF contracting officer was working with federal law enforcement, and there was no contract to be awarded to Polaris.

U.S. Attorney Talbert said: “The Eastern District of California has many military and other government facilities that obligate taxpayer money in the course of negotiating high-dollar contracts. The sentence imposed today acknowledges the importance of rooting out corruption and protecting the integrity of the contracting process. My office is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who attempt to bribe public officials or who engage in other acts of public corruption that undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the government.”

Judge Nunley said at sentencing that, “bribery is not a victimless crime.” He went on to note that bribery creates a “pay-to-play environment” in which people feel “they can’t participate if they do it the right way.”

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Beckwith and Todd Pickles are prosecuting the case.

Banaga, Schiller and Cruceru pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. They are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Nunley on May 11, 2017. They each face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison. 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 April 6, 2017

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 2:15-cr-235 TLN