Miami-Dade Department of Public Works Employee Charged with Accepting Bribes from Contractor
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 19, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the filing of a criminal complaint charging defendant George Brown, 50, of Hollywood, Florida, with accepting bribes in connection with programs receiving federal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 666. Brown was arrested yesterday and is scheduled to appear in federal court tomorrow in Fort Lauderdale at 11:00 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Lurana S. Snow.
According to the criminal complaint, Brown was the Roadway Lighting Coordinator for the Department of Public Works (DPW) in Miami-Dade County. In this capacity, Brown was responsible for, among other things, overseeing the installation and/or maintenance of more than 45,000 street lights in the county’s roadway system. In 2011, a lighting contractor allegedly offered to provide Brown with “rewards” in exchange for the DPW’s purchase of the contractor’s lighting products. Brown agreed and subsequently accepted more than $13,000 in bribes from the contractor in 2011 and 2012. As detailed in the complaint, the bribes included appliances, computer equipment, and other merchandise, all paid for by the contractor. Among the merchandise that Brown received from the contractor was a 2.5 ton air conditioning unit, a Samsung stainless steel refrigerator, and a KitchenAid built-in single electric convection oven. The merchandise was either shipped directly to Brown’s home address or picked up by Brown at the contractor’s business in Miami, Florida.
During the investigation, the contractor began to cooperate with law enforcement and recorded the conversations with Brown. In one recorded conversation, Brown assured the contractor that no one else knew about their arrangement. In another recorded conversation, the two discussed delivery to Brown of certain merchandise costing approximately $2,600, in exchange for Brown’s assistance in getting the DPW to purchase more than $40,000 worth of lighting products from the contractor for a project on 27th Avenue in Miami, Florida.
If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, Brown faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan.
A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.