Former Miami-Dade Department of Public Works Employee Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes from Contractor
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 17, 2014|
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 that George Brown, 50, of Hollywood, Florida, pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with accepting bribes in connection with programs receiving federal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 666. Brown’s sentencing has been set for March 28, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn.
According to the stipulated statement of facts executed by the parties, Brown was the Roadway Lighting coordinator for the Department of Public Works (Public Works) in Miami-Dade County. In this capacity, Brown was responsible for, among other things, overseeing the installation and/or maintenance of more than 24,000 street lights in the county’s roadway system. In 2011, a lighting contractor offered to provide Brown with “rewards” in exchange for Public Works’ 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. 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.
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 on a Public Works’ project on 27th Avenue in Miami.
Brown faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of 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 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 www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.