January 28, 2015

Former Detroit Public Library Contractors Sentenced on Bribery Charges

Two former contractors with the Detroit Public Library were sentenced late yesterday afternoon on charges of bribery of a public official, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced.

Joining McQuade in the announcement were Paul Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Jarod Koopman, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

James Henley, 44, of Detroit, and Ricardo Hearn, 32, of Royal Oak, were sentenced to 27 months and 28 months, respectively, by United States District Judge George Caram Steeh. Each man also was ordered to pay $750,000 in restitution to the Detroit Public Library for losses suffered by the library as a result of the crimes.

According to court records, Henley and Hearn paid former Detroit Public Library Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Cromer a total of $1.4 million in kickbacks in return for contracts for information technology services with the Detroit Public Library during the period 2007 to 2010. After being confronted by federal law enforcement officials, Henley and Hearn both cooperated in the prosecution of Cromer. On September 16, 2014, Cromer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the bribery conspiracy, and ordered to pay $3,913,890.42 in restitution to the library.

Henley owned a company called Core Consulting & Professional Services. Cromer approved a proposal submitted by Core Consulting to provide information technology work, and approved various extensions and change orders to the contract.

Ultimately, the Library paid Core Consulting almost $2 million under the contract, and Henley secretly paid kickbacks to Cromer totaling over $650,000 during the period 2007 to 2008. Henley also pleaded guilty to failing to file tax returns for the year 2007. Hearn, who owned Cubemation LLC, paid Cromer kickbacks totaling about $800,000 in exchange for Cromer approving no-bid professional services contracts for Hearn’s company to perform information technology services for the library from 2008 until 2010. Cubemation received about $3.2 million in payments from the Detroit Public Library.

“This case demonstrates that not just bribe takers, but bribe payers will be held accountable in appropriate cases. Everyone who corrupts the system should be brought to justice,” said United States Attorney McQuade.

“All those involved in the misappropriation of government funds for their own selfish purposes violate federal law and betray the trust of the citizens they purport to serve,” stated Paul Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Detroit Field Office. “The FBI, and its local, state and federal law enforcement partners, remain vigilant in the fight against public corruption, and committed to bringing to justice those who abuse the public’s trust.”

“It’s disappointing when the public trust is abandoned by the actions of a few,” said IRS Acting Special Agent in Charge Jarod Koopman. “IRS-Criminal Investigation will continue to identify and help prosecute those that attempt to deceive the public, abuse the system and use their position for their own personal gain. These sentences will hopefully send a message to others that not only will they be held to the highest standard, but they will be punished equally.”

The case was investigated by agents of the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mark Chutkow and Julie Beck.