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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Former Army Contractor Sentenced To 30 Months In Federal Prison For Bribery Scheme Involving Contracts At Aberdeen Proving Ground

Baltimore, Maryland – United States District Judge George L. Russell III sentenced Matthew Barrow, age 45, of Toledo, Ohio, today to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, on bribery charges related to contracting at the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), in Harford County, Maryland.  Co-defendants John Kays, age 45, of Pinehurst, North Carolina (formerly of Bel Air, Maryland), and his wife, Danielle Kays, age 44, are currently serving federal prison sentences of six years and 18 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the scheme.  The court previously issued an order that the defendants forfeit $1,487,135.52, as well as vehicles and a boat.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Craig, Jr. of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service - Mid-Atlantic 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 Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to court documents, John Kays, Danielle Kays, and Barrow all graduated together from the United States Military Academy at West Point.  In 2008, John Kays and Danielle Kays held leadership positions as civilian employees in the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), representing the Army in multi-year contracts.  CECOM was headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground.  Barrow worked for a glass manufacturer in Toledo, OH.  Barrow formed a company called MJ-6, to which John Kays admitted that he steered CECOM subcontracts in exchange for money. 

According to Barrow’s plea agreement, in March 2006, the U.S. Army Contracting Command at APG awarded a 10-year, $19.2 billion contract to seven prime contractors to provide technology services to support the integrated engineering, business operations, and logistics needs for the Army. Former Army officials John and Danielle Kays each had leadership positions related to this contract. From September 2006 through April 2011, a series of task orders for services pursuant to the contract were placed.

According to the plea agreements, from August 2008 to June 2014, John Kays agreed to take official actions favorable to Barrow and MJ-6 in return for Barrow paying them a total of approximately $800,000.  Danielle Kays has admitted using her official position to benefit Barrow and MJ-6 during the period from 2011to 2014.  Specifically, the Kayses used their official positions to add MJ-6 as a subcontractor acceptable to the Army, steer potential employees for government contractors to work for MJ-6, approve MJ-6 employees to work on various Task Orders, and approve the pay rates, status reports, and travel reimbursements for MJ-6 employees.  Total contracts steered to MJ-6 by the Kayses exceeded $21 million.

In order to conceal his corrupt relationship with the Kayses, Barrow caused the glass company he worked for to enter into contracts and make payments to Transportation Logistics Services, LLC, a company incorporated by John Kays, until the glass company fired Barrow.  Barrow then made payments to the Kayses in cash, which Barrow withdrew from his personal accounts and from MJ-6 accounts.  To conceal the scheme, John and Danielle Kays made false statements on the government ethics forms that they were required to file by failing to disclose the cash payments received from Barrow.  The Kayses used the cash for their personal benefit, including payments for home renovations, two new automobiles, a powerboat, jewelry, a pool party at their country club, and credit card bills.

Barrow later agreed to pay the Kayses the proceeds of the scheme from MJ-6 disguised as employment salary. 

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the DCIS, Army Criminal Investigation Command, and FBI for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joyce K. McDonald and Harry M. Gruber, who prosecuted the case.

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Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated April 10, 2019