Two Sentenced to Prison in Tulsa Public Works Bribery Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 14, 2009|
Acting United States Attorney Thomas Scott Woodward announced that two men received prison sentences today for taking part in a bribery scheme involving millions of dollars in taxpayer funds intended for city streets, bridges, and other public works projects in the City of Tulsa.
Max Elliot Wolf, age 57, of Owasso, president of Horizon Construction Company, Inc., was sentenced to 57 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The court ordered restitution in the amount of $939,078.56 has been paid by the defendant and will be restored to the City of Tulsa. Wolf had earlier pled guilty on September 10 to Procurement Fraud Bribery. He admitted that from mid-2005 until June 2008, he made numerous bribery payments to former Tulsa Public Works Field Engineering Manager Albert Martinez with the intent to influence and reward Martinez for certifying fraudulent inflated invoices submitted by Horizon.
Harlan Eugene Yocham, age 49, of Yocham Enterprises, Sapulpa, was sentenced to five months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons to be followed by five months of home detention. The court ordered restitution in the amount of $10,000 has been paid by the defendant and will be restored to the City of Tulsa. He was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. Yocham had earlier pled guilty on September 8 to Procurement Fraud Bribery. He admitted that he paid a $7,000 bribe to former Tulsa Public Works Field Engineering Manager Albert Martinez for his approval of a fraudulent and inflated invoice involving a street improvement contract on East Pine Street between Peoria and Lewis.
This major public corruption scandal involving the Tulsa Public Works Department was first revealed to the public on January 22, 2009, when the federal indictments were unsealed and an announcement was made in a news conference by former U.S. Attorney David E. O’Meilia, FBI Special Agent in Charge James E. Finch, and IRS Criminal Investigations Division Special Agent in Charge Michael P. Lahey. They jointly announced at that time that two former managers at the City of Tulsa Public Works Department and four area businessmen were charged by a Grand Jury for their participation in bribery and fraud schemes involving millions of dollars intended for city streets, bridges, and other public works projects in the City of Tulsa.
Acting U.S. Attorney Woodward stated today after the two men were sentenced, “Hundreds of hard-working public employees and private contractors work together every day to maintain and improve the operation of the City of Tulsa. Rarely do we see such an obvious disregard for the public trust as these defendants have shown. However, when public corruption is exposed, we will do our best to ensure that the perpetrators are punished accordingly and the interests of the citizens are upheld.”
U.S. District Judge Terence Kern presided over the two cases. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Clinton J. Johnson, Joseph F. Wilson, and Catherine J. Depew prosecuted the case for the government. The investigation was undertaken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.