Guilty Plea Entered by Contractor Charged with Paying Bribes to Director of Traffic Engineering
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 01, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Acting 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 James Hashim, 50, of Plantation, pled guilty today to 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 I. Cohn. Sentencing has been scheduled for Friday, April 26, 2013, at 11:00 a.m.
Hashim was charged, along with Anthoneel Allen, 40, of Wellington, 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.
According to the documents filed with the court, in or about 2005, Allen hired Hashim as a vice president of Southeast Underground Utilities (SUU). Hashim was to work as an estimator and to help SUU obtain government contracts. Hashim admitted that beginning in the fall of 2006 through 2010, he and Allen provided to Jihad El Eid more than $150,000 in cash, a 2003 Ford Taurus, and a job at SSUU 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 which 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.
According to the documents filed with the court, Hashim also admitted that he and Allen conspired to evade paying federal income and employment taxes on bonuses and payments made by SUU related to the purchase of Hashim’s $1.25 million house in Plantation.
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.