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Justice News

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

Friday, January 20, 2017

Former United States Merchant Marine Academy Employee Pleads Guilty To Receiving Bribes

Defendant Accepted Over $150,000 In Bribes From Favored Contractors

Earlier today in federal court in Central Islip, New York, John McCormick, a former Planner/Estimator for the Department of Public Works of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, New York, pleaded guilty to Receiving a Bribe as a Public Official in connection with his participation in a scheme to defraud the United States by steering maintenance and repair contracts to favored contractors. Today’s plea proceeding took place before United States Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields.

The guilty plea was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Douglas Shoemaker, Regional Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Transportation – Office of the Inspector General (DOT-OIG), and Kathy A. Enstrom, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York Field Office (IRS).


According to previous court filings, between 2000 and 2014 while McCormick was employed in the Department of Public Works for the United States Merchant Marine Academy, he solicited and submitted fake bids on contracts he supervised in order to steer the awarding of maintenance and repair contracts to favored contractors who paid him bribes.


In October 2014, federal agents surveilled and recorded McCormick accepting a bribe from a contractor on the grounds of the United States Merchant Marine Academy. McCormick was arrested shortly thereafter. This plea is the result of a continuing investigation in which the government has previously filed charges against other Academy employees and a number of contractors.


“The receipt of bribes on government contracts threatens the quality of the work being performed and the integrity of the contracting process. Such brazen conduct will never be tolerated and the defendant will now be held accountable for his crimes,” stated United States Attorney Capers.


“The guilty plea entered into today by John McCormick for Receiving a Bribe as a Public Official, demonstrates that those entrusted with the stewardship of taxpayer dollars will be held responsible for maintaining the highest level of integrity,” said Regional Special Agent in Charge, DOT-OIG, Shoemaker. “Our agents will continue to work with the Secretary of Transportation, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial colleagues to expose and shut down fraud schemes that adversely affect public trust and DOT-assisted transportation programs.”


“Government employees are hired to serve the best interests of the public, not to illegally enrich themselves. Today’s plea by Mr. McCormick underscores our commitment to work in a collaborative effort to promote honest and ethical government at all levels and to prosecute those who violate the public trust,” stated Acting Special Agent in Charge, Enstrom, IRS-Criminal Investigation, New York Field Office.

At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum of 15 years’ imprisonment. The defendant has also agreed to forfeit $60,000 illegally received by him as part of the scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for May 19, 2017, before United State District Court Judge Arthur D. Spatt, at which time the Court determines restitution.

The government's case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Burton T. Ryan, Jr.

The Defendant:


Age: 60

Atlantic Beach, New York


E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-490




Public Corruption
Updated January 20, 2017