A private contractor pleaded guilty today to paying bribes to a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) contracting official in order to receive contracts to deliver the mail.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein of the District of Maryland and USPS Inspector General David C. Williams made the announcement.
Barbara Murphy, 52, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge George Jarrod Hazel of the District of Maryland, who set sentencing for June 13, 2016.
According to a factual stipulation filed with the court, Murphy was the sole owner of ER&R Transportation and MC&G Trucking LLC, which she used to bid for and perform on transportation contracts with USPS. Murphy admitted that from January 2011 to July 2012, she bribed Gregory Cooper, a former USPS contracting officer representative. These bribes included cash paid directly into Cooper’s bank accounts, automobile loan payments, college tuition for Cooper’s daughter, five cell phone bill payments, an airline ticket and fitness equipment, Murphy admitted.
According to the plea agreement, Murphy gave all of these benefits in exchange for Cooper’s favorable treatment of her companies when contracting opportunities with the USPS arose, in violation of Cooper’s lawful duty to the USPS. Specifically, Cooper recommended to his superiors that 10 USPS contracts on which Murphy bid during the relevant time period be awarded to Murphy’s companies, she admitted. Additionally, Murphy admitted that Cooper provided her with advice on how to address specific issues that arose from her contract performance and drafted documents that Murphy provided to the USPS.
On Nov. 15, 2015, Judge Hazel sentenced Cooper to 15 months in prison for bribery.
The USPS Office of the Inspector General investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Mark Cipolletti and Monique Abrishami of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Salem of the District of Maryland are prosecuting the case.