Customs and Border Protection Officer Indicted for Receiving Bribes, Allowing Drug-laden Vehicles to Enter the U.S.
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – November 14, 2023
SAN DIEGO – A federal grand jury has indicted a former civilian employee of the Naval Information Warfare Center in San Diego and the owner of a Virginia-based defense contractor for a bribery scheme.
According to the indictment, Phillip Flores, owner of Intellipeak Solutions, bribed James Soriano, the former employee, with free dinners at San Diego restaurants including De Medici Cucina, the University Club and Bluewater Boathouse Grill and Ruth’s Chris in Virginia as well as tickets to the 2018 World Series and the 2019 Super Bowl.
In return, Soriano allowed Flores to draft procurement documents for various contracts, including contracts for which Flores and Intellipeak ostensibly were in competition with others. Soriano also steered millions of dollars in contracts to Intellipeak that Flores subcontracted to others, including contractors ineligible to receive the contracts.
To conceal their activity, Soriano falsified government paperwork and Flores falsely affirmed that Intellipeak had completed 51 percent of the work on awarded contracts when the company had not. On October 29, 2019, in a recorded call, Flores coached Soriano to be “very careful” about how he answered questions from federal agents and to falsely say contractors drafting government documents was “market research.”
“Our nation’s military depends upon the honesty of its civilian workforce and the contractors who provide invaluable services to the men and women who help defend our country,” said U.S. Attorney Tara K. McGrath. “Those who choose greed and corruption breach that sacred trust.”
“The announced indictment is a critical first step in holding all three parties accountable for their alleged criminal efforts to enrich themselves financially by subverting the integrity of the government’s acquisition process through the improper awarding or promise of awarding lucrative contracts,” said Bryan D. Denny, Special Agent in Charge for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Western Field Office. “DCIS remains committed to working jointly with the United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners to investigate and deter public corruption within the Department of Defense.”
“Bribery and procurement fraud within the Department of the Navy threatens warfighter safety and perpetuates unfair contracting practices that negatively affect honest businesses,” said Special Agent in Charge Greg Gross of the NCIS Economic Crimes Field Office. “NCIS and our partners remain committed to exposing those who abuse the DON procurement process for personal gain.”
“The indictment alleges that Mr. Soriano and Mr. Flores put national security at risk by actively trying to skirt the government contract process that exists to ensure our warfighters are equipped to fight and win in a complex environment,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office. “CI is committed to working with our fellow law enforcement partners to root out corrupt activities by following the money to help protect our heroes in uniform.”
“Using a position of public trust as a means to fraudulently grant access to federal programs for personal gain will not be tolerated,” said SBA OIG’s Western Region Special Agent in Charge Weston King. “Our office will remain relentless in the pursuit of fraudsters who seek to exploit SBA’s vital economic programs. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and commitment to seeing justice served.”
DEFENDANTS Case Number 23cr2282-TWR
James Soriano Age: 63 Las Vegas, NV
Philip Flores Age: 52 Nashville, TN
Intellipeak Solutions, Inc. Virginia
RELATED CASE Case Number 23cr2192-TWR
Dawnell Parker Age: 54 Athens, AL
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Conspiracy to Commit Bribery - Title 18, U.S.C., Section 371
Maximum penalty: Five years in prison; $250,000 fine
Bribery – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 201
Maximum penalty: Fifteen years in prison; $250,000 fine for an individual or $500,000 for an organization, or three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, whichever is greater.
Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Naval Criminal Investigative Service
Small Business Administration – Office of Inspector General
Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation
Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General
*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If you have information regarding fraud, waste, or abuse relating to Department of Defense personnel or operations, please contact the DoD Hotline at 800-424-9098.
Media Relations Director Kelly Thornton (619) 546-9726 or Kelly.Thornton@usdoj.gov