Former Nashville Airport Official Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Fraud and Bribery Scheme
MNAA Contractor Also Charged in Conspiracy
John T. Howard, Jr., 45, of Nashville, Tenn., was sentenced today to a term two years in prison in connection with his role in a scheme involving fraudulent invoices and the solicitation of a bribe, announced David Rivera, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger, who imposed the sentence, also ordered Howard to pay restitution of $1,405,876.07 and to forfeit the proceeds of his crime. The government had sought a prison term of between 57-71 months, in accordance with the U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines.
During a hearing on October 1, 2015, Howard, who had been an Assistant Vice President of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, (“MNAA”) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud, one count of soliciting and receiving a bribe, and one count of money laundering. Howard acknowledged conspiring with certain MNAA contractors to submit fraudulent invoices to MNAA for construction and repair work that they had not performed, overseen, or verified. Howard also admitted asking a contractor to purchase more than $49,000 in airline tickets to Las Vegas for players, coaches, and others affiliated with a youth basketball organization run by Howard, in return for awarding an MNAA cleaning job to this contractor.
On April 4, 2016, Tim Rucker, 49, of Smyrna, Tennessee, was charged with conspiring with Howard to commit money laundering and wire fraud. The charging document alleges that Rucker submitted false invoices to MNAA for work that he had not in fact performed and that he provided the majority of the cash derived from these invoices to John Howard.
The charges against Rucker are merely an accusation and are not evidence of guilt. Rucker is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the IRS- Criminal Investigation and the Office of the Davidson County District Attorney General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Abely.