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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Former City Of Plymouth Official Sentenced To 24 Months In Prison For Illegal Bribery And Kickback Scheme

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the sentencing of RONNIE EUGENE TAGGART, 51, to 24 months in prison for soliciting and receiving bribes and kickbacks in exchange for awarding City of Plymouth contracts. TAGGART pleaded guilty on May 1, 2018, to one count of wire fraud and was sentenced earlier today before Senior Judge Michael J. Davis in United States District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

United States Attorney MacDonald thanked the Special Agents with the FBI for their hard work and expertise in investigating public corruption cases such as this.

“The public trusts that their government officials are honest and will always work in the best interest of the citizens they represent. The defendant took advantage of that trust and used it for his own gain and we believe today’s sentence will serve as an appropriate punishment for his crimes,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jill Sanborn. “I want to commend the work of the investigative team on this matter, as their work on this case shows that the FBI will continue to ensure that the public’s faith in their leaders is protected.”

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from approximately October 2012 through November 2016, TAGGART was the Facilities Supervisor for the City of Plymouth, Minnesota. In his position, TAGGART was responsible for the maintenance of all buildings owned and operated by the City of Plymouth, including the authority to award contracts for City projects such as building maintenance and cleaning, landscaping, and snow removal.                                                                                                                              

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from approximately 2014 through November 2016, TAGGART devised a scheme to defraud the City of Plymouth by soliciting and receiving bribes and kickbacks in exchange for awarding City contracts to various contractors outside of the competitive bidding process mandated by Minnesota state law and City of Plymouth procurement policy. TAGGART solicited and received cash kickbacks based on the total value of certain contracts. On other contracts, TAGGART received a flat cash kickback amount from the contractor. TAGGART also solicited and received non-cash bribes from certain City contractors, including items and services for TAGGART’S home, such as thousands of dollars in kitchen appliances, installation of new carpet, a concrete driveway, a garage door, a yard irrigation and sprinkler system, and extensive landscaping and electrical work. All of these items and services were provided to TAGGART at no cost.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, in order to conceal his failure to comply with the competitive bidding requirements, TAGGART instructed the bribe- and kickback-paying contractors to submit a second, fake quotation to give the false appearance that TAGGART had complied with the state statute and City policy. TAGGART also encouraged the bribe- and kickback-paying contractors to inflate the amount of their bids to cover the cost of the kickbacks and bribes. In total, TAGGART solicited and received bribes and kickbacks worth approximately $58,532.

This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI.

Assistant United States Attorney Joseph H. Thompson prosecuted the case.

 

Defendant Information:

RONNIE EUGENE TAGGART, 51

Golden Valley, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Wire fraud, 1 count

Sentenced:

  • 24 months in prison
  • Two years of supervised release
  • $58,352 in restitution

 

 

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Updated November 7, 2018