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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 24, 2018

Taj Armon Reid Convicted Of Conspiracy And Receiving Bribes

Jury Concludes Reid Conspired With A California State Employee To Take Bribes In Connection With Construction Contracts

SAN FRANCISCO – Taj Armon Reid was convicted of conspiracy and receiving bribes by a federal jury today, announced Acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jack Bennett.  The guilty verdicts followed a four-day jury trial before the Honorable Charles R. Breyer, U.S. District Court Judge.

The jury found that Reid, 47, of Oakland, received bribes on two occasions in connection with business being offered by the California Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as CalVet.  The jury also concluded Reid conspired to receive the bribes with Eric Worthen, 46, of Pleasant Hill, who at the time was an employee of CalVet. 

Evidence at trial showed that Reid accepted cash from a source on April 18, and again on May 8.  In April, Reid offered a developer an inside advantage on two CalVet construction projects in exchange for $10,000 cash.  Specifically, Reid offered to use Worthen’s position at CalVet to circumvent the normal bidding process for a residential home project in Ventura, California.  The May transaction involved a kitchen remodel project at the veterans’ home in West Los Angeles.  On this occasion, Reid and Worthen accepted $2,000 cash in exchange for providing to the developer inside information that the co-conspirator took from the CalVet office.  Unbeknownst to Reid and Worthen, the “developer” to whom they were providing an inside track on the CalVet contracts was a source working under the direction of the FBI and posing as a developer willing to pay bribes in order to obtain contracts with public agencies.  At the conclusion of the trial, the jury found Reid guilty of conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and two counts of receiving a bribe or reward, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(B).  

“Defendant Reid, motivated by the lure of easy money, attempted to take advantage of inside access to state contract,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tse.  “The kind of ‘pay to play’ corruption exposed in this case is unfair to honest government contractors, inflates the cost of public projects, and undermines the public’s confidence in the integrity of government agencies and their employees.  Combatting public corruption is and will continue to be a priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

Reid’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 29, 2018, before Judge Breyer in San Francisco.  The maximum statutory penalty for the violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 is five years and a fine of $250,000, and the maximum penalty for the violations of 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(B) is ten years and a fine of $250,000.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. 

Worthen pleaded guilty in August of 2017 to his part in the conspiracy and for taking bribes.  His sentencing is scheduled has not yet been scheduled.

The case is being prosecuted by the Special Prosecutions and National Security Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, with assistance from the Department of Treasury, Office of Inspector General.
 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Public Corruption
Updated May 30, 2018