Consultant for the Florida Department of Transportation Pleads Guilty to Accepting a Bribe
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 13, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Marlies T. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General, announced that defendant Ron Capobianco, Jr., 40, of Pompano Beach, pled guilty today to committing bribery in connection with programs receiving federal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666. At sentencing, the defendant faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, three years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 7, 2013, at 8:30 a.m.
According to documents filed with the court, the defendant worked as a construction engineering and inspection consultant at an engineering company, which specialized in the transportation industry. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) contracted with this company to provide services, including designing, inspecting, and troubleshooting the construction of roads, signs, and traffic signals. Because of his position and expertise, the defendant was consulted as an FDOT expert on certain aspects of signalization and lighting construction, including the use of video detection cameras for traffic signalization and control.
Furthermore, according to court documents, in 2009, FDOT began a road construction project along Highway 1 in the Florida Keys—the Marathon Key project—which was designed to improve traffic flow. The defendant agreed to accept a bribe from a subcontractor working on this project. In May 2009, an agent of the subcontractor offered to pay the defendant a bribe if the subcontractor received at least $25,000 for the installation of the video detection equipment. The defendant agreed to the subcontractor’s $25,000 estimate for the installation of the video detection devices, thus enabling the subcontractor to make a significant profit. The subcontractor’s estimate was approved and subsequently paid by the State of Florida after the installation of the video detection equipment. In May 2009, the defendant met with an agent of the subcontractor and was paid $4,000 for his assistance to the subcontractor on this project.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, IRS-CI, and the U.S. Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General, in connection with the investigation of this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan.