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Fighting Corruption: Tips Hotline Taking Calls

Fighting Corruption
Tips Hotline Taking Calls

06/18/13

Hands shaking and exchanging moneyPublic officials are sworn to serve the citizens of this country, but when they break that bond of trust, they impact the ability of government to function at the most basic level. For that reason, public corruption investigations are the FBI’s top criminal priority in Oregon and around the nation.

Public corruption cases are, by their nature, difficult to work because the crime often involves a dishonest relationship between two willing parties. It could be a government official taking a bribe, an elected official voting on a measure that benefits him financially, or a public worker taking kickbacks for steering contracts to a friend. Because these kinds of crimes often fly under the radar, law enforcement needs help from community members to identify possible cases.

To this end, the FBI’s Portland Division has launched a public corruption tip line: (503) 460-8585. Oregon residents may also send tips in via e-mail to PortlandTips@ic.fbi.gov. (View related press release.)

“There are times when honest citizens stumble across a scheme involving public officials. We need those citizens to feel that they can—and should—have a voice in making our government responsive to their concerns and responsible for holding public officials to the highest standards,” said Greg Fowler, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon.

While bribery is the most common form of public corruption, the FBI also sees extortion, embezzlement, racketeering, money laundering, and disaster relief fraud as areas of concern. While the vast majority of public officials do their jobs with honest conviction, corruption can happen at any level—federal, state, or local.

Does It Happen Here?

Man putting envelope in jacketPublic corruption is, unfortunately, a reality of the world in which we live—including here in Oregon. Here are some case examples:

  • Food Program Theft—Gerardo Mosquera
    In September 2012, a federal judge found former Portland resident Gerardo Mosquera guilty of two counts of stealing from a state of Oregon program that provides food to underprivileged children. All totaled, prosecutors proved that about $215,000 in government funds were lost. The result: needy children missed out on 100,000 promised meals. Mosquera received a five-year prison sentence. Details
  • Theft of Government Pay—John Amos
    In December 2012, John Amos pled guilty to concealing the fact that he was being paid by the government as an active duty soldier when he had, in fact, not been on active duty since 2007. Between 2007 and 2011, Amos collected more than $400,000 in pay to which he was not entitled. Details
  • Indictment: Oregon State Food Buyer—Fred Monem
    Fred Monem is a former food buyer with the Oregon Department of Corrections. He faces federal charges of conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, and fraud for allegedly taking more than half a million dollars in bribes to steer food contracts worth more than $4 million to certain vendors. Monem fled before his trial, and FBI agents believe he is currently hiding in Iran. Details | Wanted poster
  • Parking Manager Bribes—Ellis McCoy
    In August 2012, Ellis McCoy pled guilty to taking more than $164,000 in bribes while working as a manager with the Portland Bureau of Transportation. McCoy managed the city’s parking meter program at the time he was taking bribes from two companies that supplied Portland with its smart parking meters and other related services. McCoy also pleaded guilty to falsifying tax returns to hide the bribes in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Details