Two Individuals Charged in Opa Locka City Contract Bribery Scheme
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce the latest case to arise from the ongoing Opa Locka municipal corruption investigation.
The former manager of a Miami-based licensed towing company (“the Towing Company”), and his father, who had a pending agreement to buy the Towing Company, were charged with participating in a conspiracy to pay bribes in order to obtain a contract with the City of Opa Locka.
Raul Sosa Sr. (“Sosa Sr.”) and Raul Sosa Jr. (“Sosa Jr.”) were charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit Federal programs bribery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, and substantive counts of Federal programs bribery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(2). If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of five years’ imprisonment for the conspiracy count and ten years’ imprisonment for each of the bribery counts, as well as a fine up to $250,000 per count.
According to the Indictment, in April 2015, the City of Opa Locka published a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) seeking bids from licensed and experienced towing firms seeking multi-year non-exclusive contracts to provide Opa Locka with citywide towing services. Shortly after this RFP was published, then-City Commissioner Luis Santiago and a co-conspirator met with Sosa Sr., who agreed to pay them a $10,000 bribe to use their positions and influence to ensure that the Towing Company was selected as one of the companies receiving a towing contract with Opa Locka. During this meeting, Sosa Sr. paid the first installment of the bribe and designated his son, Sosa Jr., as the person who would work with Santiago and the co-conspirator to carry out the illegal arrangement.
The Indictment further alleges that Sosa Jr. made additional bribe payments, and that the co-conspirator arranged for an Opa Locka city employee to assemble and prepare the Towing Company’s bid package. After this bid was submitted, the co-conspirator violated the City’s purchasing Cone of Silence by contacting a member of the City’s committee ranking the towing bids and directing that individual to rank the Towing Company as the number one company. To complete the illegal arrangement, at the June 24, 2015, City Commission meeting authorizing the award of the towing contracts, Santiago used his position as a City Commissioner to vote in favor of the resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into towing contracts with the Towing Company and three other companies. The final installment of the bribe then was paid the day after the City Commission voted to award the Towing Company a city towing contract.
In a related case, arising from the Opa Locka corruption investigation, Santiago previously pled guilty to conspiring to commit Federal programs bribery and Hobbs Act extortion under color of official right (Case No. 16-20971-CR-WILLIAMS). Santiago was sentenced to 51 months’ imprisonment.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force and IRS-CI in this matter. Mr. Greenberg thanked the Miami-Dade Police Department and Hialeah Police Department for their assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edward N. Stamm and Maurice Johnson.
An Indictment merely contains allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.