Judge Sentences Final Defendant In Air Force Base Fraud Case; Individuals, Businesses Ordered To Pay Back Millions
MACON— The defendant in the center of a scheme to award millions of dollars in military contracts in exchange for illegal kickbacks at Robins Air Force Base was sentenced in federal court Wednesday, announced Charles “Charlie” E. Peeler, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. The Honorable Marc Treadwell sentenced Mark Cundiff, 60, of Macon, to 36 months in prison followed by two years supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution in the amounts of $110,050 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and $270,000 to the U.S. Treasury. Two co-defendants and businesses previously entered guilty pleas and were sentenced in this case. Co-defendant Raymond F. Williams of Canton, OH, was sentenced in Albany federal court on January 8, 2019 by the Honorable Leslie Gardner to 60 months in prison, 3 years supervised release and restitution in the amount of $870,000 to the U.S. Department of Defense on the charge of Conspiracy to Bribe a Public Official. In addition, two businesses owned by Mr. Williams, US Technology Corporation (UST) and US Technology Aerospace Engineering Corporation (USTAE) were ordered by Judge Gardner to pay $1,500,000 in fines plus $870,000 in restitution apiece on Money Laundering Conspiracy charges. Co-defendant John Christopher Reynolds of Macon, was sentenced in August 2018 by Judge Treadwell to 12 months and a day for Aiding and Abetting the Giving of a Gratuity to a Public Official. There is no parole in the federal system.
Mr. Cundiff was a long-term Department of Defense employee at Robins Air Force Base (RAFB), working from 1982 until his retirement in January 2014. He was responsible for technical engineering support to military aircraft maintenance operations, and part of his official duties was to prepare a Performance Work Statement (PWS) when RAFB was soliciting bidders for new contracts. A PWS is a document that describes the requirements necessary for a bidding company to meet the needs of the US Air Force on a particular job, and is in place to ensure fairness in the federal bidding process, where contracts can be worth tens of millions of dollars. Sometime in 2004 or 2005, Mr. Williams requested that Mr. Cundiff provide inside help with winning contracts. In exchange for cash payments, Mr. Cundiff wrote each PWS so that the contract requirements could only be met by Mr. Williams. Starting in 2011, Mr. Reynolds funneled payments to Mr. Cundiff from Mr. Williams, by submitting fake invoices to Mr. Williams’ company, UST. Mr. Reynolds was hired by UST to provide engineering support for $40,000 a month, but no work was involved in this sub-contract beyond a few small items. At the time, Mr. Cundiff was living in a home owned by Mr. Reynolds. Mr. Reynolds would take the monthly invoice payment from UST, subtract the rental money he used to pay down the mortgage on the property he owned, and give the remaining balance to Mr. Cundiff. In all, Mr. Cundiff would receive amounts of between $2,000 and $8,000 dollars in kickbacks monthly from when the scheme began in 2004 or 2005 until November 2013. Mr. Cundiff retired from RAFB in January 2014. During the course of the conspiracy, Mr. Williams directed payments from UST in the amount of $870,000 to pay bribes to Mr. Cundiff and to reward Mr. Reynolds and others for serving as intermediaries in the payment of brides to Mr. Cundiff. Mr. Williams received benefits from Mr. Cundiff’s efforts amounting to at least $14,450,000.
“Millions of dollars in federal contracts was directed to one company in exchange for cash bribes—this is not the American way,” said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “It is a gross injustice for all hard-working, rule-abiding people when a few individuals cheat the system for their benefit. It isn’t fair, and government fraud won’t be tolerated by this Office, especially when it impacts our military.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and Department of Defense/Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant United States Attorney Paul C. McCommon, III prosecuted the case for the United States.
Questions concerning this case can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.