Three Sentenced for Bribery in Connection with Cuyahoga County Public Corruption Investigation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 15, 2010|
Three people were sentenced to prison for paying bribes as part of the ongoing Cuyahoga County corruption investigation, Bernard A. Smith, Appellate Chief, Criminal Division, the United States Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Ohio; Harold Bickmore, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Cleveland Division of the FBI; and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, announced today.
Dinesh Bafna, 46, of Pepper Pike, Ohio, was sentenced to six months in prison by U.S. District Judge John Adams. He was also fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $5,839 in restitution.
Rocky Laurie, 53, of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay $42,528.50 in restitution by Judge Adams.
Shannon Riley, 46, of Sagamore Hills, Ohio, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison and ordered to pay $65,502.50 by Judge Adams.
Bafna pleaded guilty last year to bribery charges. He provided free home improvements to former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo in return for reduced property tax valuations, according to his plea.
Bafna, the owner of Mont Granite, provided $5,839 worth of granite and materials to Salva Stone design in 2005 and 2006 to install for Russo. Mont Granite did not bill or receive payment from Salva Stone Design for the items, and Salva Stone Design did not bill or receive payment from Russo for the material or installation, according to Bafna's plea.
Thereafter, Russo helped Bafna lower the property valuation for Bafna's commercial real estate from a high of $1,564,700 too $1,235,000. Bafna's residential value decreased from a proposed increase of $1,112,600 to $865,000, according to his plea.
Laurie, the former business manager of the Maple Heights City Schools (MHCS), pleaded guilty in July to one count of misprision of a felony (not reporting a felony) and one count of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Laurie admitted using school district accounts and credit cards to purchase items for personal use, such as appliances and food, for former MHCS officials.
Riley, the owner of Riley Industrial Services, previously pleaded guilty to one count of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. Riley paid kickbacks totaling $30,000 to former MHCS Treasurer Christopher D. Krause in 2008 in return for contracts valued at approximately $306,936, according to Riley's plea.
These cases were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ann C. Rowland, Antoinette T. Bacon and Nancy L. Kelley following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.