Former Tennessee Department of Corrections Officer Sentenced for Writing False Report to Cover Up Another Officer’s Use of Excessive Force
Memphis, TN – J-Line Pump, Inc., d/b/a American Marsh Pumps, Inc. (AMP), a Tennessee Corporation headquartered in Collierville, and Michael J. Florio, 40, of Collierville, pleaded guilty today to making false statements to a government agency that resulted in more than a half-million dollars in fraudulent sales of water pumps to an Egyptian company, announced U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III.
“When our government undertakes to provide development programs throughout the world, it must be able to trust its partners,” said U.S. Attorney Stanton. “Government contractors are neither exempt from nor allowed to turn a blind eye to the rules and requirements designed to prevent fraud and malfeasance. Today’s guilty plea should serve notice to those who engage in procurement fraud that there is zero tolerance for such conduct, and ultimately you will be held accountable.”
The charge in the information grew out of an indictment filed December 14, 2011, alleging that AMP conspired with international interests in order to rig the outcome of bidding process for 10 large industrial water pumps intended for an Egyptian company.
This conspiracy violated the regulations established by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Commodity Import Program (CIP). One of the provisions required that the pumps be manufactured in the United States, but the pumps sold by AMP and Florio, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for AMP, were manufactured in China. Other provisions required that the pumps be tested and certified, when in fact, none of the pumps were tested. During the plea hearing, it was revealed that the pumps were eventually sold to the Egyptian government, and proved to be of inferior quality. Six of the pumps were eventually returned to the manufacturer in China.
In pleading to the information, AMP agreed to forfeit $536,750, representing the proceeds obtained as a result of the false statements made. Florio will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge T. Fowlkes, Jr. on May 30, 2013. He could receive up to five years in federal prison.
“I would like to express my thanks for the excellent work of our investigators and our colleagues at the Department of Justice involved with this case,” said USAID Deputy Inspector General Michael Carroll. “Today’s pleas send a strong message to those who would obtain taxpayer funds intended to support USAID programs through fraud. The USAID Office of Inspector General will continue to use all necessary resources of the U.S. government to bring to justice those who wrongfully profit from the American taxpayer.”
This case was investigated by the USAID Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher E. Cotten represented the government.