Internal Revenue Service Information Technology Supervisor Facing Federal Charges for Extortion and Attempted Witness Tampering
Baltimore, Maryland - Chief U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Barry Stephen Robinson, age 65, of Accokeek, Maryland, today to a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, in connection with a bribery scheme perpetrated in 2014 while Robinson was Chief of the Division of Transit and Marine Services of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation. Chief Judge Blake also ordered Robinson to pay forfeiture in the amount of $20,000, of which all but $13,550 had already been seized.
The sentence 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 Jankowski of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
“Barry Stephen Robinson 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.”
“Using his official position and the resources of Baltimore City, Robinson abused the trust placed in him in order to personally enrich himself,” said Thomas Jankowski, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office. “IRS-Criminal Investigation stands committed to weed out individuals, such as Robinson, who take the path to financial enhancement through greed and corruption at the expense of those they serve.”
Barry Robinson was Chief of the Division of Transit and Marine Services of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation and supervised Baltimore City’s “Circulator” and “Water Taxi” programs. He had authority to approve contracts with advertisers and vendors and to purchase and pay for goods and services.
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 returned the check and proposed 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 at that time. In January 2014, Robinson renewed his offer to extinguish the debt to the City of Baltimore. This time, he offered to cancel $60,000 of debt 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.
Robinson also admitted that he stole and sold bus shelters belonging to the City for $70,000. 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 since the city did not keep track of the shelters, he planned to sell them for his personal benefit. On April 9, 2014, Robinson accepted $70,000, in return for the city’s bus shelters.
Seeking to disguise the source of the bribery proceeds, Robinson deposited the cash bribe payments he received into two bank accounts in the name of another person, and used a portion of the proceeds to install carpeting, televisions and a range hood in his home.
According to court documents, the intended loss to the City of Baltimore from Robinson’s schemes was approximately $310,000.
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 prosecuted the case.