Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bid-rigging ringleader sentenced to 88 months

Federal Times.com reports -- A Great Falls, Virginia, businessman was sentenced a little more than seven years in prison for bribing officials at the Army Corps of Engineers for contracts.

Young N. Cho, also known as Alex Cho, received an 88-month sentence and must repay $7.6 million to the Corps for his role in the bid-rigging scheme, according to the Department of Justice. He also must pay a forfeiture judgment of another $6.9 million.

 The sentencing took place on Oct. 8, a day before the Justice Department announced it.

From 2007 to 2011, Cho, as chief technology officer for Nova Datacom, paid $17 million in bribes to former Army Corps program manager Kerry F. Khan and another $1 million to former program manager Michael A. Alexander to get government contracts, according to the Justice Department. He also conspired with officials to steer a contract worth nearly $1 billion to his company, according to Justice.

For three years, Nova Datacom submitted invoices to the government for equipment and services totaling $45 million, $18 million of which was either fraudulent or inflated, Cho admitted.

Cho also admitted to bribing Harold F. Babb, former director of contracts at Eyak Technology,with $700,000 to help process the cooked invoices.

In total, the bid-rigging scheme, which DOJ officials called “the largest in the history of federal contracting cases”, claimed more than $30 million in taxpayer money.

“Cho is just one of 20 crooked contractors, government officials and other middlemen who have pled guilty as part of this investigation,” said Vincent H. Cohen Jr., acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. "His prison sentence is proof that the temptation to cheat the system by paying off corrupt government employees is not worth it.”

Cho and 19 others, pleaded guilty to federal charges, which include bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and money laundering and to defraud the United States. In addition, Khan was sentenced to 19 years and seven months, Alexander was sentenced to six years, and Babb seven years and three months.

“More than six years after initiating one of the largest procurement fraud cases in history, this sentence demonstrates that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have a long memory when it comes to holding accountable those who engage in bribes and kickbacks,” said Paul M. Abbate, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “The FBI will continue to diligently work to protect the integrity of our government by pursuing those who seek to violate the system through corruption.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that it was able to recover the entire $30 million stolen through forfeiture, restitution and civil settlements.


Food for thought:  It's always good to see "Justice" prevail for American taxpayers!!  In 2006, while serving as a budget officer and contracting officer for the Navy, I began to unravel evidence of what I consider as one of the largest procurement fraud cases in Naval history; involving contract bid rigging and revolving door practices. As a certified IG investigator and command budget and contracting officer, it was my duty to investigate and report the fraudulent activity to higher authority. After being punished by my former bosses for being a military whistleblower, and having my whistleblower claims rejected by the DoD IG, I reported the evidence to the DoJ’s Anti-trust division. As a discredited military whistleblower, my June 2009 and later September 2013 Qui Tam petition(s) never came to fruition. Yet I pray my claims will one day be taken seriously, because when you protect fraud and greed you are causing the American taxpayers to suffer. 


Anonymous said...

Ms. Penland, I recall your case and how senior Pentagon officials pressured our office to back off your case. Although the evidence you provided Mr. Crawley was sufficient enough to prompt an investigation into bid rigging and revolving door practices, DCIS could not initiate an investigation without proper authorization. The evidence was forwarded to NCIS Special Agent, Alma Peterson and DoD IG MRI, Lisa Hodges. I strongly encourage you to make a new inquiry to either agency, including Mr. Crawley, as more federal whistleblower claims are being considered for investigation. I wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Alma peterson retired. She lives in Virginia.

Syneeda said...

Anon, thanks for the update. I'm sure she signed a disclosure agreement which protects her from disclosing anything about my case.