On May 30, 2008, as a part of their ongoing investigation into the military restraints industry, the DOJ reached a plea agreement with Wilson Freire, a former government contracts manager at Peck & Hale LLC. Mr. Freire pled guilty to two separate conspiracies of bid rigging and taking kickbacks on contracts taken in connection with various equipment sold to the U.S. Department of Defense (“DOD”).
The former manager was charged with bid rigging of U.S. Navy contracts for metal sling hoists, equipment used by the whole military that is essential to transfer military items and munitions throughout the world. Mr. Friere and his co-conspirators allegedly attended meetings where they discussed and agreed not to compete on certain contracts from the DOD. They also allegedly submitted bids in accordance with previous agreements reached at those meetings and as such sold this military equipment to the U.S. Navy at non-competitive prices. Mr. Friere was also allegedly involved in taking kickbacks in connection with Peck & Hale’s subcontracts to manufacture various types of military equipment sold to the DOD.
This was the eighth indictment and third employee of Peck & Hale to plead guilty to charges of bid rigging and taking kickbacks. According to the DOJ, Mr. Freire violated the Sherman Act and conspired to violate the Anti-Kickback Act. He will be serving 366 days in prison and pay a criminal fine of $10,000 as well as support the DOJ in their ongoing investigation. This DOJ investigation is part of the National Procurement Fraud Initiative launched in October 2006 and is “designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in contracting activity for national security and other government programs.”