Four Former Employees of Utility Company Plead Guilty in Bribery and Kickback Scheme
Company Managers Admitted Taking Bribes and Kickbacks Worth Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Exchange for Steering of Lucrative Contracts
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Patrick McCrann and Richard Zavada, two former employees of a New York-based utility company (the “Company”), pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and kickbacks from the owners of a Long Island-based contractor (the “Contractor”) in exchange for steering lucrative contracts to the Contractor. Last week, Ricardo Garcia and Jevan Seepaul, two other former employees of the Company, also pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and kickbacks from the Contractor. Today’s proceedings took place before United States District Judge Carol Bagley Amon.
Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the guilty pleas.
“The defendants have admitted to accepting thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks for their own enrichment and to subverting the no-bid process for awarding contracts,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Kasulis. “The Office will remain vigilant in prosecuting criminals who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers and consumers.”
As alleged in the criminal information and other court filings, the defendants were managers employed in the facilities department of the Company who steered contracts to certain Long Island-based contractors, including the Contractor, in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. The Contractor secured more than $50 million in facility maintenance contracts from the Company during the time that the Contractor was paying bribes to the defendants. As managers, the defendants had the authority to approve “no-bid” contracts valued at less than $50,000. The Contractor understood that if it did not pay bribes, the defendants would award the Company’s work to the Contractor’s competitors. In exchange for the bribe payments, the defendants also took various steps to assist the Contractor in obtaining contracts from the Company for which there was a bidding process, including providing it with non-public bidding information, circumventing the Company’s competitive bidding process and offering favorable reviews of the Contractor’s work. The Contractor paid bribes to ensure that the defendants did not slow or stop disbursement of project funds to the Contractor, provide negative performance reviews regarding the Contractor’s work, or otherwise claim that the Contractor’s work did not meet contractual specifications.
The illicit payments to the defendants included cash, the purchase of a recreational vehicle, home improvements, landscaping and an overseas vacation. As part of the investigation, agents recovered approximately $300,000 in cash from a safe deposit box held by Zavada.
When sentenced, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum fine of $500,000, mandatory restitution and forfeiture.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Turner Buford and Artie McConnell are in charge of the prosecution.
The Defendants Who Pleaded Guilty Today:
Selden, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-467 (CBA)
Hicksville, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-468 (CBA)
The Defendants Who Previously Pleaded Guilty:
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-460 (CBA)
JEEVAN SEEPAULAge: 36
Rockville Centre, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-469 (CBA)