Former Chief of Baltimore City Division of Transit and Marine Services Indicted for Bribery Scheme
Allegedly Took $20,000 to Cancel Debt Owed to City and Took $70,000 to “Sell” Government Property
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury indicted Barry Stephen Robinson, age 65, of Accokeek, Maryland, in connection with an alleged bribery scheme earlier this year while he was Chief of the Division of Transit and Marine Services of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. Robinson is charged with two counts of bribery concerning a program that received federal funds, and one count of money laundering. The indictment was returned on October 29, 2014.
“Barry Stephen Robinson allegedly took a $20,000 bribe to cancel a $60,000 debt owed to Baltimore City, and a $70,000 bribe to allow the theft of city property worth $250,000,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “This sort of corruption can occur when dishonest people are trusted to handle valuable government property without oversight.”
The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore City Inspector General Robert H. Pearre, Jr.; and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
Robinson supervised Baltimore City’s “Circulator” and “Water Taxi” programs, according to the indictment. He had authority to approve contracts with advertisers and vendors; purchase and pay for goods and services; and receive and process payments owed to the city.
In the spring of 2013, Robinson received a check for $40,000 payable to the Baltimore City Director of Finance, in payment for advertising on Circulator buses. Robinson allegedly returned the check and offered that for $20,000 in cash, he would cancel the $40,000 debt to the city and provide written documentation that it had been paid. The debtor declined the offer. In January 2014, Robinson offered to extinguish $60,000 of debt to the City of Baltimore in return for $20,000 in cash. From January 23 to March 11, 2014, Robinson received four cash payments of $5,000 each. In return, Robinson provided a signed letter on Baltimore City letterhead falsely stating that the $60,000 debt had been paid.
Seeking to disguise the source of the bribery proceeds, Robinson allegedly deposited some of the money into a bank account in the name of another person on January 24, 2014.
The indictment also alleges that Robinson took a $70,000 bribe to sell unused city bus shelters. In 2011, Robinson arranged for Baltimore City to purchase 13 bus shelters from a Canadian company for $249,290. On multiple occasions from May 2013 to March 2014, Robinson said the city did not keep track of the shelters, so he planned to sell them for his personal benefit. Robinson allegedly said that he wanted $70,000 from the sale of the bus shelters in order to help fund his retirement. On April 9, 2014, Robinson accepted $70,000, in return for the city’s bus shelters.
Robinson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for money laundering and 10 years in prison on each of two bribery counts. An initial appearance has not yet been scheduled.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, the Baltimore City Office of Inspector General and IRS-Criminal Investigation, for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara S. Sale, who is prosecuting the case.