New Jersey Pipe Supply Company Owner Sentenced to 32 Months in Prison for Role in Fraud and Bribery Conspiracy in Power Generation Industry

Company Sentenced to Pay a Total of Over $1.7 Million in Fines and Restitution

A New Jersey industrial pipe supply company and its owner were sentenced today for conspiring to commit fraud and pay bribes to a purchasing manager at Consolidated Edison of New York in return for the manager’s efforts to steer contracts to the company, the Department of Justice announced.

Andrew Martingano, of Staten Island, New York, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts of the Southern District of New York to 32 months and a day in prison.  American Pipe Bending and Fabrication Co. Inc. of Edison, New Jersey, was sentenced to pay a $150,000 criminal fine.  Martingano and American Pipe were also sentenced to pay over $1.6 million in restitution, jointly and severally with their co-conspirators, to the victim, Con Ed.  The company and its owner pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud and conspiring to defraud Con Ed on Aug. 15, 2012.

According to court documents, Martingano and others agreed to pay approximately $510,000 in cash bribes to James M. Woodason, a department manager of the purchasing department at Con Ed.  In exchange for the bribes, Woodason steered Con Ed industrial pipe supply contracts to American Pipe by secretly providing Martingano with confidential competitor bid information, thereby causing Con Ed to pay higher, non-competitive prices for materials.  At the time of Woodason’s arrest in August 2010, Woodason had already received approximately $45,000 in cash bribes from Martingano and American Pipe.

The department said the conspiracy took place from approximately January 2009 to August 2010.  In addition, Martingano and American Pipe defrauded Con Ed by requesting a 14 percent price increase and basing that request on a fake email purporting to document a “Steel Mill” price increase that American Pipe was passing on to Con Ed.  These false and fraudulent price increase requests caused actual losses to Con Ed in the amount of approximately $1.4 million and intended losses of approximately $9.4 million.

Con Ed is a regulated utility headquartered in Manhattan.  It provides electric service to approximately 3.2 million customers, and gas service to approximately 1.1 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York.  Con Ed received more than $10,000 in federal funding each year between 2003 through 2010, and cooperated with the department’s investigation.

Including Martingano and American Pipe, a total of five individuals and two companies have been charged as part of this investigation and have been ordered to serve a total of more than 16 years in prison and to pay criminal fines and restitution of more than $3 million.

The charges arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation of bid rigging, bribery, fraud and tax-related offenses in the power generation industry.  The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s New York Office, with assistance from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.  Anyone with information concerning bid rigging, bribery, tax offenses or fraud in the power generation industry should contact the FBI’s New York Division at 212-384-3720 or the Antitrust Division’s New York Office at 212-335-8000, or visit

Former Navy Noncommissioned Officer Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes While Serving in Afghanistan

A former Navy noncommissioned officer pleaded guilty today to accepting approximately $25,000 in cash bribes from vendors while he served in Afghanistan.

The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Canova of the Northern District of Florida, Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., Field Office, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko, Director Frank Robey of the Major Procurement Fraud Unit of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (Army CID), Acting Special Agent in Charge Paul Sternal of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office and Brigadier General Keith M. Givens of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (Air Force OSI).

Donald P. Bunch, 46, of Pace, Florida, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida to a one-count information charging him with accepting bribes.  Sentencing is scheduled to take place on Dec. 8, 2015.

From February to August 2009, Bunch worked as an U.S. Navy E8 senior chief at the Humanitarian Assistance Yard (HA Yard) at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.  The HA Yard purchased supplies from local Afghan vendors for use as part of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program, which enabled U.S. military commanders to respond to urgent humanitarian relief requirements in Afghanistan.

Bunch was responsible for replenishing food and supplies such as rice, beans and clothing at the HA Yard, and for selecting vendors from a pre-determined list to provide the necessary items.  In connection with his guilty plea, Bunch admitted that he had been instructed by his predecessor to rotate among the vendors.

According to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, certain Afghan vendors offered, and Bunch accepted, money for the purpose of influencing his selection of vendors.  Bunch admitted that he received a total of approximately $25,000 from the vendors and that, as a result, he secured on their behalf more frequent and lucrative contracts.  Bunch also admitted that he sent greeting cards stuffed with proceeds of the bribes to his wife at their residence in Florida, and that they used the money to pay for the construction of a new home.

This case was investigated by the FBI, SIGAR, Army CID, DCIS and Air Force OSI.  This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Daniel P. Butler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Goldberg of the Northern District of Florida.

Antitrust and White-Collar Defense Luminary, Robert E. Connolly, Joins GeyerGorey LLP

Robert E. ConnollyGeyerGorey LLP announced today that Robert E. Connolly has joined the firm’s Washington, D.C. office as a partner.  Connolly spent most of his career as a prosecutor with the Middle Atlantic Field Office of the Antitrust Division, Department of Justice.   Connolly joined that office in 1980 and was Chief from 1994 until early 2013.  More recently, Robert E. Connolly has been with DLA Piper in Philadelphia.  Connolly will lead GeyerGorey’s corporate internal investigations practice.  Founding partner Brad Geyer said “Bob is a natural fit for our culture, which requires constant disciplined teamwork and focus on client solutions that spring from the firm’s’ deep prosecutorial experience”
Connolly said: “I am excited to join my former DOJ colleagues.  Collectively we have worked on many of the Division’s most significant criminal and civil matters.  We have unique insights and experience to offer clients. The firm’s unique approach and rapid growth further strengthens our ability to serve clients faced with government investigations.”
“We expect Bob will be involved in much of the firm’s current portfolio of work, in addition to leading the corporate internal investigation practice,” said founding partner Hays Gorey.  “Bob has a notable reputation for his representation in high-stakes matters. He will strengthen our ability to represent multinational clients in complex litigation, as well as in high-profile regulatory and enforcement agency investigations.”  Connolly will be also be part of GeyerGorey’s compliance team, which blends its experience in enforcement, in-house counseling, criminal and civil defense, and qui tam litigation, to help companies efficiently identify, address, and mitigate litigation risks from the onset and develop an organizational culture that encourages ethical conduct and a commitment to comply with the law.
In his career with the Division, Connolly led major national and international white-collar crime investigations in the areas of antitrust, fraud and obstruction of justice.  He is known for innovative investigative and trial strategy and a command presence in the courtroom.  He left the government with one of the, if not the most successful, trial records in Antitrust Division history. Connolly was known for his building and leading effective teams that had an extraordinary commitment to successfully completing the mission.
Notably, Connolly led the international graphite electrodes cartel grand jury investigation, which resulted in seven corporate and three individual convictions and approximately $437 million in fines, including what was then the largest post-trial criminal fine in Antitrust Division history.  The investigation was capped by charging, trying and convicting a foreign corporation of aiding and abetting the cartel.   Connolly, as lead trial attorney, along with GeyerGorey’s Wendy Norman, received the DOJ’s highest litigation honor, the John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement for Trial Litigation.  More recently, Connolly’s office led the historic effort to extradite Ian Norris to the United States from Britain to stand trial on obstruction of justice charges, of which Norris was later convicted.
In addition to his prosecutorial experience, Connolly was the Victor Kramer Fellow at Yale University in 1989-1990. He has served as an adjunct professor of antitrust law at Rutgers-Camden Law School and later Drexel School of Law.   He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the ABA Cartel and Criminal Practice committee and since leaving the Antitrust Division in 2013, has authored more than a dozen articles on U.S. and international competition law practice.

GeyerGorey LLP Issues Updated Representative Matters List; Experience is Wide and Deep

Representative Matters

Our attorneys have led and participated in some of the highest profile matters in the past decade, both while in the government and in private practice. We have been involved in the most significant criminal cartel cases, the most important mergers, the most notable civil antitrust investigations, the largest procurement fraud cases, and game-changing antitrust cases that reached the United States Supreme Court. Our collective experience stands as a testament to our work ethic, our drive for excellence, and the trust and responsibility we have been given by our clients and the government.

International Cartels:

  • Led investigation and prosecution of marine contractors engaged in conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition to install deep sea oil platforms
  • Led investigation and prosecution of international freight forwarders engaged in conspiracy to fix prices on international air cargo shipments
  • Led investigation and prosecution of household-goods moving contractors engaged in conspiracy to fix prices for international moving services provided to Department of Defense
  • Investigation and prosecution of graphite electrodes manufacturers
  • Investigation and prosecution of ocean shipping companies
  • Investigation and prosecution of a FTSE 250 engineering company that resulted in the indictment, extradition and conviction of its former chief executive
  • Defended foreign construction company in investigation and prosecution of alleged billion-dollar bid rigging scheme, in related qui tam litigation, and in other related matters
  • Defended foreign vitamin manufacturers in investigations and prosecutions of alleged international price-fixing agreements
  • Defended foreign specialty chemical manufacturers in investigations and prosecutions of alleged international price-fixing agreements
  • Defended U.S.-based executive of foreign company in criminal and civil litigation related to his alleged role in an international cartel to fix prices in the marine supply industry
  • Defended foreign executive of foreign company in criminal and civil litigation related to his alleged role in the conspiracy to fix air cargo rates around the world
  • Defended international freight forwarder in criminal litigation related to its alleged role in an international conspiracy to rig bids on U.S. military shipping contracts
  • Investigation and subsequent prosecution of foreign vitamin manufacturers for price fixing conspiracy

Domestic Price Fixing and Bid Rigging:

  • Defended electrical products manufacturer in first felony prosecution under the Sherman Act and in civil treble damage litigation
  • Represented a class of nurses in litigation against a hospital association and a number of Arizona hospitals
  • Represented the State of Ohio against a number of dairies for allegedly rigging bids of school milk
  • Investigation and prosecution of highway paving contractors in multiple districts for bid rigging
  • Investigation and prosecution of military insignia providers supplying the Army Air Force Exchange System with over 4,000 items of insignia
  • Represented metal drum manufacturer in prosecution for price fixing
  • Investigation of polypropylene bag manufacturers and that resulted in the prosecution of a manufacturer for Buy American Act violations and conspiracy to defraud
  • Investigation and prosecution of nearly 40 cases against paving contractors for conspiring to rig bids in connection with federal and state highway and airport contracts
  • Investigation and prosecution of an auction rigging conspiracy involving auto parts to by the Department of Defense at Defense Reutilization Marketing Offices (DRMO)
  • Investigation and prosecution of multiple electrical construction contractors for conspiring to rig bids for major power wiring contracts associated with steel mills and waste water treatment plants
  • Investigation and prosecution of multiple wholesale grocery companies and bid managers for rigging bids to school districts, hospitals and jails in southern Texas
  • Investigation and prosecution of multiple dairies for rigging bids for school milk sold to districts in Louisiana
  • Investigation and prosecution of crawfish processors for fixing prices paid to crawfish farmers and fishermen
  • Investigation and prosecution of bribery conspiracy involving the reconstruction of the New Orleans levee system after Hurricane Katrina
  • Investigation and prosecution of fire protective services company and its president
  • Investigation and prosecution of an Iraq-based general construction bid rigging scheme
  • Investigation and prosecution of conspiracy to solicit kickback scheme involving security services on a US Agency for International Development contract
  • Investigation and prosecution of fuel theft from an overseas United States military facility
  • Investigation and prosecution of a Europe-based scheme to defraud the Iraqi government by facilitating the fraudulent claim for payment of armored vehicles that were never delivered
  • Represented individual accused of defrauding government defense agency out of hundreds of thousands of dollars of grant money
  • Represented company accused of defrauding government by failing to supply vitamin-enriched food products with the proper level of enrichment
  • Represented large computer software company in internal investigation of improper influence on government contracting process

General Criminal:

  • Defended CEO and three closely-held companies in a multi-state racketeering and tax fraud prosecution
  • Investigation and prosecution of multiple labor racketeering cases ranging from prosecutions of United Mine Worker Union officials for theft of union funds used to pay for the murder of a political opponent of the union president to the prosecution of two Boston-based racketeers for actions associated with their travel to California in connection with a union organizing effort at a San Rafael newspaper
  • Investigation and prosecution of the mayor of a New Jersey town for taking bribes in connection with the permitting of a tank farm at the terminus point of a major Gulf Coast to East Coast pipeline
  • Investigation and prosecution of the most prolific serial bank robber in United States history
  • Investigation and prosecution of the murder for hire of a government witness and one of the largest cocaine importation conspiracies East of the Mississippi River
  • Investigation and prosecution of numerous gun, drug and false identity cases
  • Investigation and prosecution of multiple obstructions of justice, contempt, false statement, witness tampering and perjury cases arising out of grand jury investigations
  • Investigation and prosecution of bank fraud cases
  • Represented individuals before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in appeals from criminal convictions (more than a dozen cases)
  • Defended individual in intelligence community in investigation by DCIS for alleged violations of public corruption statutes (18 U.S.C §§ 207 & 208)
  • Defended individual in criminal investigation by Inspector General of NASA
  • Defended individual in federal bribery investigation
  • Defended government contractor in investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of Agriculture
  • Defended several regional hospitals in various unrelated federal investigations of allegedly fraudulent billing practices, Stark violations
  • Represented hospital CEO in investigation of alleged Stark violations
  • Represented pathology laboratory in healthcare fraud investigation
  • Represented national healthcare company in investigation of allegedly criminal off-label marketing
  • Represented various individuals in applications for presidential pardons

Mergers and Acquisitions:

  • Represented Warner Music in connection with the proposed acquisition of EMI by Universal Music
  • Represented DISH Network in opposition to the proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T
  • Represented Merck in connection with its acquisition of Schering Plough
  • Represented Simon Properties in connection with its acquisition of Prime Outlets
  • Obtained antitrust clearance in the acquisition of Liquid Container by Graham Packaging
  • Obtained consent decree against nuclear engineering firm which had acquired another firm with the same engineering specialty
  • Represented major home healthcare provider in acquisition valued in excess of $500 million
  • Represented pathology laboratory in merger valued in excess of $100 million
  • Represented foreign mining company in acquisition of US coal mines valued over $1 billion
  • Represented hospital management company in acquisition valued in excess of $500 million
  • Represented individual in several acquisitions of stock each valued in excess of $100 million
  • Represented major over-the-counter pharmaceutical company in four different acquisitions over several years whose values ranged from over $100 million to over $500 million
  • Represented national restaurant chain in acquisition valued at about $1 billion
  • Represented regional hospital chain in acquisition of a hospital valued above $50 million
  • Represented hospital valued in excess of $100 million in sale to state hospital system

Civil Antitrust Matters:.

  • Defended large telecommunications provider in three week trial for alleged exclusionary conduct directed towards telecom services resellers.
  • Represented large telecommunications provider as plaintiff in case alleging monopolization of market for telecom switch software.
  • Represented leading music copyright licensing organization in a decade-long investigation by the Department of Justice
  • Led the investigation of Ticketmaster at the Department of Justice
  • Led major, successful prosecution by United States Department of Justice of conspiracy among twenty-four leading market-makers in NASDAQ stocks, including Goldman, Sachs & Co. and J. P. Morgan Securities,  Inc. who had conspired to maintain spreads between buying and selling prices of NASDAQ stocks
  • Defended large telecommunications provider in multi-year litigation brought by competitive telecom carrier alleging monopolization of market for high speed data services
  • Led successful investigation and prosecution of Salomon Bros Inc. and two hedge funds, Caxton Corporation and Steinhardt Partners, LP, to limit the supply of two-year Treasury notes to the “repo,” or “repurchase agreement,” market
  • Successfully brought the Reagan Administrations ‘s first challenge to a merger (brewing industry)
  • Successfully represented the United States in a litigated matter challenging field of use restrictions in patent licensing agreement in specialty chemicals
  • Successfully represented the United States in challenge to professional rules of conduct limiting competition among accountants in Texas
  • Successfully represented the United States in challenge to acquisition by Texaco, Inc. of an independent oil refining company
  • Represented high-tech electronic service provider with respect to antitrust issues in a bet-the-company patent infringement case
  • Represented sporting goods manufacturer in vacating a consent decree
  • Represented leading music copyright pool in civil antitrust investigation leading to vacating of an earlier consent decree and modification of another consent decree
  • Represented hospital CEO in litigation arising from denial of physician staff privileges

Antitrust Compliance Counseling:

  • Advised large telecommunications provider on its price and product bundling
  • Advised large telecom provider in connection with a joint venture of three carriers to entire the mobile payments market with mobile phones
  • Advised major manufacturer of household appliances on antitrust compliance
  • Advised major manufacturer of high-end kitchen appliances on antitrust compliance
  • Advised major manufacturer of over-the-counter pharmaceutical on antitrust compliance
  • Advised regional airport on state action doctrine and compliance with antitrust laws
  • Advised national trade association on antitrust compliance and Noerr-Pennington doctrine
  • Advised international shipping company on compliance regarding competition, fraud, and foreign corrupt practices
  • Advised African government on contracting and anti-fraud and anti-corruption best practices

Other Civil Litigation:

  • Represented Haiti in multinational investigation and litigation leading to the recovery of money stolen by its former president Jean-Claude Duvalier
  • Represented developers in multiple appeals involving alleged illegal cooperative conversion terms
  • Defended law firm in $10 million professional malpractice action
  • Defended various healthcare providers in numerous different federal investigations of alleged fraud, related qui tam cases, and related whistleblower termination actions
  • Defended CMS contractor in qui tam case
  • Represented regional Medicare Advantage organization in suit against the U.S. Government
  • Defended book distributor and publisher in defamation case
  • Defended author in defamation case
  • Represented gaming company in civil rights action relating to state gaming regulations
  • Defended copyright and trademark owner in intellectual property litigation
  • Defended local retailer of gray market goods in trademark infringement litigation
  • Represented major multinational corporation in suit seeking refund of local corporate franchise tax
  • Represented government contractor in appeal of denial of security clearance
  • Defended employers in cases alleging violation of wage-and-hour statute
  • Represented developers in multiple appeals involving alleged illegal cooperative conversion terms
  • Defended employer in case alleging employment discrimination
  • Defended employer in case alleging sexual harassment
  • Defended employers in cases alleging unlawful discharge

Experience by Industry:

  • Air Cargo
  • Aircraft Parts (Domestic)
  • Airlines
  • Airport Contracts
  • Automobile Dealers (Domestic)
  • Airlines
  • Asset Forfeiture
  • Auction Rigging (Multiple Industries)
  • Banking (International)
  • Baked Goods (Domestic)
  • Baking Soda
  • Book Publishing
  • Bridge Construction
  • Carbon Products
  • Caustic Soda
  • Cell Towers (Domestic)
  • Chemicals (Multiple Products, Domestic and International)
  • Clothing and Textiles (Multiple Products, Domestic and International)
  • Computer Software
  • Construction (Domestic and International)
  • Copyright and Trademark
  • Dairy Products
  • Deep sea Oil Platforms
  • Democratization Programs
  • Electrical Products
  • Embassy Construction
  • Engineering
  • Export-Import Bank Clients (Multiple Industries, International)
  • Food Service Contracts (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Financial Institutions (Domestic and International)
  • Fire Protection Services
  • Freight Forwarding (Domestic and International)
  • Fuel Supply (Domestic and International)
  • General Construction (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Government Contracts (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Graphite Electrodes
  • Highway Construction
  • Hospitals
  • Housing Foreclosure Auctions (Domestic)
  • Information Technology (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Industrial Gases (Domestic and Multiple Products)
  • Marine Contractors
  • Medical Products (Multiple Products, Domestic and International)
  • Metal Drums
  • Military Insignia (International)
  • Military Moving and Storage
  • Mining and Related Products (Multiple Industries, Domestic)
  • Motor Vehicles (Domestic)
  • Municipal Bonds (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Nursing
  • Ocean Shipping (International)
  • Oilfield Supplies
  • Pharmaceuticals (Multiple Products, Domestic and International)
  • Polypropylene bags
  • Rock Salt
  • Seafood
  • Security Contracts
  • School District Contracts (Multiple Industries)
  • Soda Ash
  • Shipping (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Slag Removal
  • Telecommunications
  • Tobacco
  • Translation Services
  • Trucking
  • US Agency for International Development Contractors and Grant Recipients
  • Vitamins
  • Warzone
  • Waste Hauling
  • Wholesale Groceries
  • Wireless
  • World Bank Contractors and Grant Recipients (International)
  • Vitamins


Experience by Subject Matter:

  • Antitrust (Civil and Criminal)
  • Auction Rigging
  • Bank Robberies (Domestic)
  • Bank Fraud
  • Bid-Rigging
  • Bribery
  • Buy American Act Violations
  • Capital Crimes
  • Cartels (Multiple Products, Domestic and International)
  • Cash Smuggling (International, multiple procurements by multiple governments)
  • Civil Merger and Non-Merger Cases (Multiple Products, Multiple Industries Domestic and International)
  • Civil Rights Actions
  • Competition Advocacy
  • Contempt
  • Contracting Fraud
  • Corporate Defense (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Criminal Conspiracies
  • Defamation
  • Disaster Fraud
  • Drug Cartels and Trafficking
  • Embezzlement
  • Employment Law
  • False Claims
  • False Statements
  • Federal Trade Commission Matters
  • Firearms and Weapons Offenses (Domestic and International)
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) (Multiple Industries)
  • Forgery
  • Fuel Theft
  • Grant Fraud (Multiple Industries, Multiple Agencies, Domestic and International)
  • Hart-Scott-Rodino Pre-Merger Notification
  • Health Care Fraud (Compliance, Organizational Defense, Whistleblowers)
  • Kickbacks
  • Identity Theft
  • Intellectual Property
  • Mail Fraud
  • Market Allocation
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Money Laundering (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Monopolies (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Murder for Hire
  • Non-governmental Organizations (International)
  • Obstruction of Justice
  • Overseas Contingency Operations
  • Perjury
  • Presidential Pardons
  • Price Fixing
  • Procurement Fraud (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Professional Malpractice Defense
  • Public Corruption
  • Qui Tam Matters
  • Racketeering
  • Securities Fraud
  • Stark Violations
  • Tax Fraud (International, Domestic and State)
  • Territorial Allocation
  • Webb-Pomerene Organizations (International)
  • Weapons Offenses (Domestic and International)
  • Whistleblowers (Multiple Industries, Domestic and International)
  • Wire Fraud
  • Witness Tampering

Former Consultant for Willbros International Sentenced in Connection with Foreign Bribery Scheme

A former consultant for Willbros International Inc. (Willbros International), a subsidiary of Houston-based Willbros Group Inc. (Willbros), was sentenced today for his role in a conspiracy to pay more than $6 million in bribes to government officials of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and officials from a Nigerian political party, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office announced today.

Paul G. Novak, 46, was sentenced today to serve 15 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Simeon T. Lake III of the Southern District of Texas.  The court took into consideration Novak’s cooperation, and the sentence was consistent with the government’s recommendation. In addition to the prison sentence, Novak was ordered to pay a $1 million fine and to serve two years of supervised release following his release from prison.  In sentencing Novak, the court took into consideration the assistance Novak provided the government in ongoing investigations.

Novak pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and one substantive count of violating the FCPA. Novak admitted that from approximately late-2003 to March 2005, he conspired with others to make a series of corrupt payments totaling more than $6 million to various Nigerian government officials and officials from a Nigerian political party to assist Willbros and its joint venture partner, a construction company based in Mannheim, Germany, in obtaining and retaining the Eastern Gas Gathering System (EGGS) Project, which was valued at approximately $387 million. The EGGS project was a natural gas pipeline system in the Niger Delta designed to relieve existing pipeline capacity constraints.

According to court records, Novak and his alleged co-conspirators Kenneth Tillery, Jason Steph, Jim Bob Brown, three employees from Willbros’s joint venture partner and others agreed to make the corrupt payments to, among others, government officials from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, a senior official in the executive branch of the federal government of Nigeria, and members of a Nigerian political party.  Court documents state the bribes were paid to assist in obtaining and retaining the EGGS contract and additional optional scopes of work.

According to information contained in plea documents, to secure the funds for those corrupt payments, Novak and his alleged conspirators caused Willbros West Africa Inc., a subsidiary of Willbros International, to enter into so-called “consultancy agreements” with two consulting companies Novak represented in exchange for purportedly legitimate consultancy services. In reality, those consulting companies were used to facilitate the payment of bribes.

In addition to Novak, to date, two Willbros employees have pleaded guilty for their roles in the EGGS bribery scheme, and Willbros has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the government:

  • On May 14, 2008, Willbros Group Inc. and Willbros International entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the government and agreed to pay a $22 million penalty, in connection with the company’s payment of bribes to government officials in Nigeria and Ecuador.  On March 30, 2012, the government moved to dismiss the charges following Willbros’s satisfaction of its obligations under the deferred prosecution agreement, and on April 2, 2012, the Court granted the United States’ motion.
  • On Sept. 14, 2006, Jim Bob Brown, a former Willbros executive, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, in connection with his role in making corrupt payments to Nigerian government officials to obtain and retain the EGGS contract and in connection with his role in making corrupt payments in Ecuador. After a reduction for cooperation, Brown was sentenced on Jan. 28, 2010, to 12 months and one day in prison, two years of supervised release and a $17,500 fine.
  • On Nov. 5, 2007, Jason Steph, also a former Willbros executive, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, in connection with his role in making corrupt payments to Nigerian government officials to obtain and retain the EGGS contract. After a reduction for cooperation, Steph was sentenced on Jan. 28, 2010, to 15 months in prison, two years of supervised release and a $2,000 fine.

Kenneth Tillery was charged, along with Novak, for his alleged role in the bribery scheme in an indictment unsealed on Dec. 19, 2008. According to the indictment, Tillery was a Willbros International employee and executive from the 1980s through January 2005. From 2002 until January 2005, Tillery served as executive vice president and, later, as president of Willbros International. Tillery remains a fugitive. The charges against Tillery are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being investigated by FBI agents who are part of the Washington Field Office’s dedicated FCPA squad.  Significant assistance was provided by the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs. This case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Laura N. Perkins of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Additional information about the Justice Department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at

Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Pleads Guilty in Tennessee to Bribery Scheme

A former U.S. Army staff sergeant pleaded guilty today to accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from contractors while he was deployed to Iraq, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee William C. Killian.

Richard A. Gilliland, 44, of Fayetteville, Tenn., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Lee in the Eastern District of Tennessee to a criminal information charging him with one count of conspiracy to accept illegal bribes.

According to court documents, from October 2007 until November 2008, Gilliland was a U.S. Army staff sergeant who worked with the Civil Affairs Unit at Camp Victory in Iraq and also was assigned as a pay agent responsible for U.S. government funds.  As a pay agent, Gilliland was responsible for paying contractors to perform work in accordance with civil development objectives set forth by U.S. Army commanders in furtherance of the strategic mission of Coalition Forces in Iraq.

While deployed to Iraq in October 2007, Gilliland worked closely with two Iraqi contracting companies and their American representatives.  Gilliland admitted to receiving approximately $27,200 and a laptop in bribes from American representatives of the contracting companies in return for his attempt to influence contracts for the Iraqi-based contractors and his assistance in acquiring used and non-working generators from the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office.  After receiving the bribes, Gilliland wired the cash payments he received back to the United States.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Trial Attorney Mark Grider of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, on detail from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR), and Assistant U.S. Attorney John MacCoon of the Eastern District of Tennessee.  The case was investigated by SIGIR.

Georgia Woman Admits to Taking Bribes for the Award of Government Contract

A former employee at the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany pleaded guilty today to receiving bribes related to the award of contracts for machine products, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore for the Middle District of Georgia.

Michelle Rodriguez, 32, of Albany, Ga., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands in the Middle District of Georgia to one count of bribery of a public official.

During her guilty plea, Rodriguez, who worked as a supply technician in the Maintenance Center Albany (MCA), admitted to participating in a scheme to award contracts for machine products to companies operated by Thomas J. Cole and Frederick Simon, both of whom pleaded guilty to bribery charges in January 2013.

According to court documents, the MCA is responsible for rebuilding and repairing ground combat and combat support equipment, much of which has been used in military missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the world.  To accomplish the scheme, Rodriguez would transmit bid solicitations to Simon by fax or email, usually following up with a text message specifying how much the company seeking the contract should bid.  Simon, with Cole’s knowledge, would then bid the amount specified by Rodriguez on each order, which was normally higher than fair market value.  Rodriguez was paid $75.00 cash per order.  Rodriguez admitted during today’s hearing that she awarded Cole and Simon’s companies nearly 1,300 machine product orders, all in exchange for bribes.

Rodriguez also admitted that in 2011, she began routing some orders through a second company, owned by Cole, because the volume of orders MCA placed with the first company was so high.  Rodriguez admitted receiving approximately $161,000 in bribes during the nearly two-year scheme.  Cole and Simon previously admitted to personally receiving approximately $209,000 and $74,500 in proceeds from the scheme, respectively.  Rodriguez, Cole and Simon all conceded that the total loss to the Department of Defense from overcharges associated with the machine product orders placed during the scheme was approximately $907,000.

At sentencing, Rodriguez faces a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  As part of her plea agreement with the United States, Rodriguez agreed to forfeit the bribe proceeds she received from the scheme, as well as to pay full restitution to the Department of Defense.  The plea agreement also required her to resign her position at the MCA.  Sentencing is scheduled for April 25, 2013.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Richard B. Evans and J.P. Cooney of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney K. Alan Dasher of the Middle District of Georgia.  The case is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, with assistance from the Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office Economic Crime Unit and the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General Defense Criminal Investigative Service.