Contractors Sentenced for Paying Bribes to Former Broward County Traffic Director of Engineering
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 24, 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 Anthoneel Allen, 40, of Wellington, Florida, and James Hashim, 50, of Plantation, Florida, were sentenced today for conspiracy to commit bribery in programs receiving federal funds, highway fraud, mail fraud, extortion under color of official right, and tax fraud, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371, before the Honorable Judge James A. Cohn. Allen received a sentence of 60 months’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a $15,000 fine, and a forfeiture judgment of $3,000,000 was ordered. As stated at the sentencing, Allen has already paid $814,000 to the government with respect to the forfeiture. Hashim received a sentence of 36 months’ imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a $15,000 fine, and a forfeiture judgment of $3,000,000 was ordered.
Allen and Hashim were charged in connection with a scheme wherein they paid bribes to Jihad El Eid, who was the Director of Traffic Engineering in the Division of Public Works in Broward County. As stated at the sentencing, the bribes paid by Allen and Hashim helped them secure approximately $26,000,000 in contracts from Broward County in which they obtained approximately $6,500,000 in benefits.
According to the documents previously filed with the court, Hashim and Allen admitted that beginning in the fall of 2006 through 2010, they provided to Jihad El Eid more than $150,000 in cash, a 2003 Ford Taurus, and a job at Southeast Underground Utilities (SUU) for Wael El Eid (a relative of Jihad El Eid) in order to curry favor with Jihad El Eid. In return, Jihad El Eid helped SUU obtain work on multi-million-dollar projects initiated by the Broward County Traffic Engineering Division, including the Signalization and Street Light Installation (SSLI) contract, a contract to make installations and do repair work of the street lights and traffic equipment in Broward County; the Advanced Transportation Management System (ATMS Project), a federally funded project that required the contractor to install an integrated traffic control system that entailed laying hundreds of thousands of feet of underground cable and conduit in order to synchronize traffic flow within Broward County; and the Video Detection Contract (VDC), which required the contractor to install video detection cameras in various intersections in Broward County in order to improve traffic flow. Jihad El Eid also assisted SUU concerning billing, specification, and inspection matters that resulted in SUU being overpaid by at least $3,000,000.
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. Mr. Ferrer would also like to recognize the assistance provided by the Broward County Office of the County Attorney, the Broward County Professional Standards Section, the Federal Highway Administration, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the employees of the Broward County Traffic Engineering Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan.