On June 30, 2009, Franch A. March, a chief executive officer of a former Virginia marine products company, pled guilty for his role in conspiracy to rig bids and allocate customers with respect to foam-filled fenders and buoys bought by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Card, and other private companies. Mr. March has also agreed to pay a fine of $100,000 and serve jail time, the amount of time still to be determined by a court.
On June 25, 2009, Tijani Ahmed Saani, a contracting officer at the Department of Defense, plead guilty to filing false tax returns from 2003 to 2007.
While working on detail at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, he failed to properly file tax returns by not reporting overseas bank accounts in the United States and Jersey Channel Islands.
On June 25, 2009, Frederick Landgraber, a co-owner of a New Jersey landscaping company, plead guilty to his role in a fraud conspiracy at the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”)-Superfund site, Federal Creosote.
Mr. Landgraber was involved in the conspiracy from March 2002 to June 2005. Mr. Landgraber paid $30,000 to an employee prime contractor at Federal Creosote so that employee would steer contracts to Mr. Landgraber’s landscaping company. He and his co-conspirator intentionally bid increased cover bids from fictitious companies to secure the bids for their companies. His company received $1.5 million in sub-contracts at the Superfund-site.
On June 23, 2009, John C. Malone, the chairman of the board of Liberty Media Corporation and the chief executive officer of Discovery Holding Co. (“Discovery”), agreed to pay a penalty of $1.4 million for violating premerger reporting and waiting requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) Act of 1976 when acquiring Discovery.
THREE MILITARY OFFICERS, FOUR DEFENSE CONTRACTORS AND THEIR COMPANIES CHARGED FOR DEFRAUDING DOD IN AFGHANISTAN
On June 19, 2009, Christopher P. West, a U.S. Army Major, and Patrick W. Boyd, a U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant pled guilty to various bribery, fraud, and conspiracy charges related to Department of Defense contracts in Afghanistan. Charles Patton, a U.S. Army Sergeant pled guilty for receiving stolen property connected to the bribery conspiracy. Assad John Ramin and Tahir Ramin, both U.S. citizens, and their companies AZ Corporation and Top's Construction, Noor Alam, an Afghan citizen, and his company Northern Reconstruction Organization, and Abdul Qudoos Bakhshi, an Afghan citizen, and his company Naweed Bakhshi Company were all indicted for bribing military officials and defrauding the U.S. Department of Defense (“DOD”).
TWO MORE INDIVIDUALS INDICTED IN ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO BIDDING VIOLATIONS IN MARYLAND TAX-LIEN AUCTIONS
On June 16, 2009, Harvey N. Nusbaum and Jeff W. Stollof, two Baltimore, MD businessmen, were indicted for conspiring to rig bids in tax lien auctions in Maryland.
If a property owner in Maryland fails to pay his/her property taxes, the State government imposes a lien. If the taxes are still unpaid, the tax liens are sold at auction. The winner of the auction then gets the right to collect the taxes plus interest owed on the property along with foreclosure rights if taxes are still unpaid. Mr. Nusbaum and Mr. Stollof conspired with co-conspirators to rig these bids in Baltimore between 2002-2007. Both businessmen and their co-conspirators agreed to which specific tax liens they would bid for and agreed on specific bid amounts in certain auctions.
On June 3, 2008, Steven L. Berman, a Maryland tax lien agent, pled guilty and agreed to pay $750,000 for his role in rigging bids in tax lien auctions in several Maryland counties. He is awaiting sentencing.
On June 11, 2009, Anthony M. Tesvich, a former Home Depot employee, was sentenced to serve six years in federal prison for charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and filing false tax returns.
According to the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the conspiracy took place from October 2002 to October 2007. Mr. Tesvich took kickbacks from various foreign vendors seeking to do business with Home Depot. Mr. Tesvich also provided kickbacks, which he referred to as “milk shakes” and “French fries”, to other employees of Home Depot during and after his employment at Home Depot. Furthermore, the DOJ charged Mr. Tesvich with evading taxes for his income between the years 2003-2005 amounting to approximately $1.3 million.
On June 4, 2009, Alta Bates Medical Group, Inc. ("Alta Bates"), a 600-physician independent practice association serving the Berkeley and Oakland, California, area, agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated the antitrust laws by fixing prices charged to health care insurers. The proposed consent order agreed to by the doctor group and the FTC prohibits Alta Bates from collectively negotiating fee-for-service reimbursements and engaging in related anticompetitive conduct.
From June 3-5, 2009, Christine A. Varney, the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) Antitrust Division, will participate in the eighth annual International Competition Network (“ICN”) conference in Zurich, Switzerland. She will join senior government antitrust officials and other antitrust experts from multinational organizations and the private sector.
The conference will address the following issues: unilateral conduct, mergers, cartels, advocacy and competition policy implementation. Created in 2001 by 15 government antitrust agencies from around the world, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice, the ICN includes 107 member agencies from 96 jurisdictions.
On June 2, Bradley J. Hansen, the former superintendent of the Montcalm Area Intermediate School District in Grand Rapids, MI, was indicted by a grand jury for conspiring to commit bribery and deprive the school district and the citizens of Michigan of his honest services in relation to the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC”) E-Rate Program. He was also charged with obstruction of justice into Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into bidding violations related FCC E-Rate program.