Goose Creek Man Sentenced for Receiving Kickbacks
Columbia, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Beth Drake announced that Joseph Hamrick, age 68, of Goose Creek, was sentenced in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, for receiving kickbacks involving federal contracts, in violation of 41 U.S.C. § 8702. United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel, of Charleston, sentenced Hamrick to 12 months imprisonment, 3 years supervised release, and a $50,000 fine.
The investigation in this case proved the existence of public corruption in construction contracts at the Joint Base in Charleston (JBC). JBC was formed in 2010 when the Naval Weapons Station and the Charleston Air Force base merged. As a large and aging military base, JBC hires private companies on a regular basis to renovate and/or build facilities.
Joseph Hamrick was a quality control officer for Chugach, Inc., which was the prime contractor at JBC from 2007 through 2014. Later in the scheme, Hamrick served in the same position at Aspen Construction, another contractor at JBC.
Beginning in 2011, Hamrick demanded that subcontractors pay him kickbacks to approve their work at JBC. As a quality control officer for a prime contractor, Hamrick had the authority to approve or disapprove a subcontractor’s work at JBC and to slow the payments to subcontractors. Hamrick’s position gave him power over subcontractors, which he used to solicit kickbacks.
From 2011 until 2015, Hamrick solicited and received more than 40 kickbacks at JBC. The value of the kickbacks exceeded $40,000. In addition to these kickbacks, Hamrick received hundreds of free lunches and other gifts provided by subcontractors over which he had authority. These kickbacks related to federal contracts at JBC. In return for these kickbacks, Hamrick steered subcontracting jobs at JBC to various subcontractors.
The case was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Rhett DeHart of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.