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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 1, 2021

Atlanta Man Sentenced to Jail for Bribing U.S. Marine Corps Official in Exchange For $2,000,000 In Transportation Contracts

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that on Thursday, September 23, 2021, the Honorable Judge Carl J. Barbier sentenced DARREL FITZPATRICK, aged 31, to 60 months in the Bureau of Prisons in what the Judge called a “massive bribery and fraud scheme” involving the United States Marine Corps. 

The defendant had previously pleaded guilty on January 21, 2021 to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 201(b)(1).  The Court also set a restitution hearing on December 16, 2021, to determine how much money the defendant owes the government as a result of the scheme. The defendant must also serve three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment and pay a $100 mandatory special assessment fee.

According to the Factual Basis, in 2019 FITZPATRICK was a senior account manager at Company A, a bus brokerage company that provided transportation to the United States Marine Corps Reserves.  That same year, FITZPATRICK started a competing transportation brokerage company called National Charter Express.

In 2019, FITZPATRICK agreed to pay kickbacks to Erik Martin, a civilian employee of the United States Marine Corps Reserves, in exchange for Martin directing business to Company A, and then later, National Charter Express. The conspiracy resulted in at least $2,000,000 in transportation contracts being corruptly awarded to companies associated with FITZPATRICK.  In exchange, FITZPATRICK wired and attempted to wire Martin over $250,000 in bribes.

U. S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), and the United States Secret Service for their investigation in this case.

“Mr. Fitzpatrick deserves to be held fully accountable for his criminal actions to bribe a Marine Corps employee to direct contracts to his transportation company,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas Cannizzo of the NCIS Southeast Field Office. “This sentencing should serve as a warning that those who seek to defraud the Department of the Navy will always be exposed and investigated to the fullest extent. NCIS and our partners remain committed to rooting out bribery and corruption that damages the integrity of the Department of the Navy’s procurement process, wastes American taxpayer money, and ultimately jeopardizes the safety of our nation’s warfighters.”

“I’d like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for partnering on this important investigation,” stated Special Agent in Charge Cynthia A. Bruce of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the investigative arm of the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General. “I am pleased that we were able to secure a significant forfeiture to take back ill-gotten gains from the defendants and send a clear message that ultimately crime does not pay."

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Andre Lagarde and Myles Ranier.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated October 1, 2021