Former American Samoa Government Official Sentenced To 22 Months In Prison
Former Official Accepted $260,000 in Payments from Government Contractor in Exchange for Favorable Treatment
SAN FRANCISCO – Evelyn Langford was sentenced today to 22 months in prison and ordered to pay $260,000 in restitution for her convictions for wire fraud and bribery, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Federal Bureau of Investigations Special Agents in Charge David J. Johnson (San Francisco) and Paul Delacourt (Hawaii).
Langford, 49, of Copperas Cove, Texas, pleaded guilty on March 20, 2015, to one count of wire fraud and one count of bribery. According to the plea agreement, Langford admitted that in 2012 she was the Director of the Department of Human Resources of the Government of American Samoa (ASG), a territory of the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean. As part of her duties, she was charged with partial oversight of a $24.8 million U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) National Emergency Grant (NEG). The grant was awarded to American Samoa in the wake of a September 2009 tsunami that caused significant damage in American Samoa. Langford admitted that while administering the funds, she accepted payments from a contractor. She then provided that contractor favorable official action.
In February 2012, a company known as the Native Hawaiian Holding Company, Inc. (NHHC) entered into a service contract with the ASG. Under this contract, NHHC received approximately 4.7 million dollars of the NEG funds to develop a “contact center” (or “call center”) industry in American Samoa. The NEG service contract was signed by an NHHC representative (Quin Rudin) and by Langford and other ASG representatives. The contract also contained provisions generally prohibiting employees of the ASG from soliciting or receiving gratuities from NHHC.
Notwithstanding the prohibition from soliciting gratuities, Langford requested that Rudin extend her a “loan,” which Rudin agreed to do. Langford received a $10,000 payment from Rudin in April 2012 and a $250,000 payment in May 2012. After receiving the funds, Langford provided favorable official action on behalf of Rudin and NHHC. For example, Langford admitted making arrangements to have NHHC representatives, including Rudin, meet with the Governor of American Samoa for the purpose of “pitching” business ideas to him, including proposals regarding transportation and medical development projects. In addition, Langford concealed the true nature and scope of her dealings with Rudin and NHHC. Langford did not advise other employees of the ASG nor employees of the DOL in San Francisco that she had received gifts and payments from NHHC, from Rudin, or from companies associated with Rudin. Langford, waived indictment and was charged in an information on January 15, 2015. She was charged with wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666.
The individual who made the payments to Langford – Quin Rudin – has been prosecuted separately for a scheme to defraud Cisco Systems, Inc. and its subsidiary, Cisco Systems Capital Corporation, related to the lease of Cisco equipment. Rudin’s case is pending in the Northern District of California (case number CR 13-00149 JST).
The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Judge, following the guilty plea. Judge Tigar also sentenced the defendant to a three year period of supervised release and ordered her to pay $260,000 in restitution to the ASG. The defendant will begin serving the sentence on September 25, 2015.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kyle F. Waldinger and Hallie Mitchell Hoffman are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Bridget Kilkenny, Jessica Meegan, Mary Mallory, and Allen Williams. The prosecution is the result of a two-year investigation by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation located in Honolulu, Hawaii and San Francisco, California.