Civilian Employee at Aberdeen Proving Ground Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes in Exchange for Favorable Actions on Contracts
Baltimore, Maryland – Rainier Ramos, age 50, of Bel Air, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to bribery in connection with his duties at the U.S. Army Public Health Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge L. Scott Moreland, Mid-Atlantic Fraud Field Office, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command; and Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig, Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service - Mid-Atlantic Field Office.
According to Ramos’ plea agreement, he was a civilian information technology professional at the U.S. Army Public Health Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG). Beginning in 2009, Ramos solicited and accepted bribes from the owner and CEO of an information technology company headquartered in McLean, Virginia (the Company). Specifically, Ramos admitted that he sought and accepted, among other things, meals and drinks, rounds of golf, tickets to sporting events, and gift cards. The sporting events included courtside seats to Washington Wizards basketball games, football tickets and access to the company’s luxury suite for Washington Redskins games at FedEx field, tickets to the see the New Orleans Saints play at the Mercedes Benz Dome in New Orleans, and tickets to see the New Orleans Hornets basketball team in New Orleans. In exchange, Ramos admitted that he took official actions favorable to the Company and the owner in relation to the MEDCOM contract, which was worth more than $50 million.
For example, in exchange for bribes from the Company’s owner, Ramos sought contracting opportunities at APG in the spring and summer of 2010, that would allow the Company to develop a track record of performance, in order to increase the likelihood that the Company would be awarded the MEDCOM contract when it was recompeted in 2011. Ramos admitted that he took the following actions in exchange for bribes: influenced the award of a contract to the Company to deploy and configure 70 desktop and laptop computers at APG; recommended that the MEDCOM contract be reserved for companies that were part of the U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) program, - a significant benefit to the Company as a certified 8(a) business; provided the owner of the Company with the winning proposal of the previous contractor on the MEDCOM contract, including pricing data, which was sensitive, proprietary information; and helped write the Statement of Work for the MEDCOM contract to increase the likelihood that the Company would be awarded that contract. On May 20, 2010, in an email to the owner of the Company, Ramos stated, “If there’s any way you can pull off a miracle and switch the 10 Eagles/Skins tickets you have already acquired for 10 Skins/Cowboys tickets, I’ll owe you some serious 8A business. . . . Thanks again for EVERYTHING.”
In August 2011, the solicitation for the MEDCOM contract was issued, and Ramos was selected as the Chairman of the Source Selection Board. In early 2012, Ramos recommended that the contract be awarded to the Company. After the Company was awarded the contract, Ramos approved invoices submitted by the Company under the contract. As of July 2016, the Company was paid almost $37 million by the U.S. government for invoices submitted under the MEDCOM contract.
Ramos faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for bribery. As part of his plea agreement Ramos is required to pay a money judgment of at least $33,000, and pay restitution in the full amount of the victim’s losses. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled Ramos’ sentencing for July 12, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
The National Procurement Fraud Task Force was formed in October 2006 to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The Procurement Fraud Task Force includes the United States Attorneys= Offices, the FBI, the U.S. Inspectors General community and a number of other federal law enforcement agencies. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Task Force, demonstrate the Department of Justice’s commitment to helping ensure the integrity of the government procurement process.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the FBI, Army CID, and DCIS for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo J. Wise, who is prosecuting the case.