Government Official Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Accepting Bribes
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 25, 2012|
CINCINNATI—David T. Mersch, 57, the former operations manager for the Cincinnati offices of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release for accepting bribes from a construction company executive in exchange for awarding construction contracts to the company, California-based Entek Mechanical Corp.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Elton Malone, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations, Special Investigations Branch announced the sentence imposed today by Senior U.S. District Judge Herman J. Weber.
Mersch oversaw everything related to the research, maintenance operations, safety, and construction for the three CDC campuses in the Cincinnati area. As part of his duties, he made recommendations for and approved contracts for certain construction and services contracts related to the CDC facilities in Cincinnati.
According to court documents, Mersch, formerly of Florence, Kentucky, solicited and accepted cash payments, paid vacations, and payments to third parties for home improvements for his residence from CDC contractors. Mersch pleaded guilty on July 19, 2011 to one count of bribery. Mersch admitted taking the payments from 2003 until 2011. The value of the payments and benefits is at least $189,181.
“Over the course of many years, the defendant abused his official position and accepted bribes from construction contractors, typically in the form of home improvements, vacations, or cash,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.
“David Mersch conspired to enrich himself at taxpayers’ expense,” said Elton Malone, Special Agent in Charge of the Special Investigations Branch within the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. “Today’s sentence results from an intolerable, selfish scheme that tarnished the image of hard-working, dedicated federal employees.”
Judge Weber also fined Mersch $1,500, ordered him to forfeit $189,181 and barred him from holding any “office of honor, trust, or profit.”
Paul G. McDonald, 70, of Pleasant Hill, California, a corporate officer for Entek, pleaded guilty in November to one count of bribery. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3, 2012.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by FBI and HHS inspectors general as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Mangan. Stewart also said the investigation is continuing.