Goose Creek Woman Sentenced for Receiving Kickbacks
Columbia, South Carolina---- United States Attorney Beth Drake announced that Barbara Powell, age 59, of Charleston, was sentenced in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, for bribery of a public employee, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201. United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel, of Charleston, sentenced Powell to 6 months imprisonment, 3 years supervised release, and a $12,500 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.
Barbara Powell was a government-contracting officer at JBC, and her duties included awarding and administering construction contracts to private companies for the federal government. From 2011 until 2015, Powell solicited and received dozens of bribes from subcontractors at JBC. The value of the bribes exceeded $15,000. In return for these bribes, Powell steered projects to some subcontractors to the detriment of other subcontractors, and she forwarded the bid proposals of some subcontractors to other subcontractors that paid her bribes. As a contracting officer for the federal government, it was illegal for Powell to provide confidential pricing information to anyone outside the government.
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.