Athletic Director, Two Others Plead Guilty to Embezzlement
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA—Three men, including the athletic director at Monticello High School and the vice president of Downtown Athletic Store, pled guilty this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia to a federal misdemeanor charge related to bid rigging.
In separate hearings this morning in Federal Court, Fitzgerald Arnette Barnes, 50, of Louisa, Va., David Mayhew Deane, 54, of Keswick, Va., and Charles Albert Phillips, 48, of Annapolis, Md., waived their right to be indicted and pled guilty to a one-count Information charging each with one count of knowingly embezzling money belonging to the United States.
“When school officials spend taxpayer dollars, they must comply with procurement rules that encourage competition and ensure that schools obtain the best possible price,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “These three individuals worked together to circumvent these important procurement regulations by creating dummy bids for athletic apparel and equipment. This case demonstrates our continuing commitment to ensuring that public funds are responsibly handled.”
Barnes, the athletic director at Monticello High School, has admitted to being involved with Deane, the Vice President of Downtown Athletic, and Phillips, the Vice President of Sales for Team Distributor, a sports apparel retailer in Maryland, in a scheme to fix bids on athletic apparel purchased for Monticello High School.
The three have admitted that between August 2008 and August 2010 they fraudulently created price bids that were used as the basis for contracts involving the sale of athletic equipment and apparel from Downtown Athletic to Monticello High School. Albemarle County policy requires a bid from three different vendors when entering into contracts with private companies for goods and services which cost more than $1000.
Over the course of several years, Barnes directed Deane to obtain and submit to Monticello High School the three required bids, one bid for Downtown Athletic and two representing other, fictitious retailers, ensuring Downtown Athletic would be awarded the contract.
On several occasions, Deane contacted Phillips and asked him to also submit false bids to Monticello High School that were higher than the bid submitted by Downtown Athletic Store. After receiving the two false and one authentic bid, Barnes awarded multiple contracts for the sale of athletic apparel and equipment to Deane and Downtown Athletic.
Following today’s guilty plea hearing, all three defendants were sentenced. Phillips was ordered to pay a $350 fine, Barnes was ordered to pay a $750 fine and Deane was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy and Assistant United States Attorney Ronald Huber prosecuted the case for the United States.