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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Thursday, January 18, 2018

San Francisco Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Bid-Rigging Conspiracy Involving Government Contracts

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — John Brewer, 48, of San Francisco, pleaded guilty today to bid rigging, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Brewer and his co-defendant Brent Vinch were the owners of, and senior executives for, a company called Expert Network Consultants (ENC), which submitted bids to the State of California for various government contracts. Brewer admitted that from 2008 through early 2012, he conspired with co-defendants Vinch and Loraine Dixon, among others, to rig the state’s competitive bidding process by creating inflated bids for submission by co-conspirators to state contracting agencies in an effort to ensure that Expert Network Consultants received the contracts. 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. In total, ENC won over 40 state contracts as a result of the bid-rigging conspiracy from multiple state agencies, including the Employment Development Department, Department of Justice, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Department of Insurance. The value of those contracts exceeded $3 million.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared C. Dolan and Matthew M. Yelovich are prosecuting the case. The United States is grateful for the assistance of the California Attorney General’s Office in conducting the initial investigation into this matter and referring it to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Vinch pleaded guilty to bid rigging on December 14, 2017, and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 15, 2018. Charges are pending against Dixon, and she has a status conference scheduled for March 29, 2018. The charges against her are allegations; and she is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Brewer is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. on April 26, 2018. Brewer faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, 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.

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
2:16-cr-239 MCE
Updated January 18, 2018