Laurel Father and Son Plead Guilty to Bribery
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 08, 2011|
JACKSON, MS—Kenneth Biglane, 67, and Peter Biglane, 40, both of Laurel, Mississippi, pled guilty in federal court today to bribery related to a program which receives benefits under federal programs providing assistance to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, U.S. Attorney John Dowdy and Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen of the Jackson Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced today.
The evidence in this case shows that on May 31, 2009, Kenneth Biglane arrived unannounced at the Natchez, Mississippi residence of then-executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (“MDOT”), Butch Brown. On that date, Kenneth Biglane asked Butch Brown to use his authority and position with MDOT to award contracts to Biglane and his associates to purchase land for MDOT “right-of-way” projects. Biglane offered to pay or “kick back” 25 percent of the company’s profits on each “right-of-way” project to Butch Brown. At that time, Brown asked Biglane to leave his home. Prior to leaving the home, Biglane provided Brown with his business card and asked Brown to call him.
The next day, on June 1, 2009, Brown told MDOT law enforcement personnel and the FBI about Kenneth Biglane’s proposition and visit to his home. On June 4, 2009, Kenneth Biglane called Brown’s office and left a voice message for Brown to call him. Brown then called Biglane in the presence of various MDOT personnel and FBI special agents. During that conversation, Biglane explained to Brown how much money he and his associates would earn from the right of way projects in question. Biglane described the arrangement as a “brown paper bag deal” and stated that Brown’s participation in the deal would have to be “kept quiet.”
Following the initial phone conversation, Kenneth Biglane repeatedly called Brown to discuss the proposal. Brown did not speak to Biglane when he called but instead, made a series of consensually recorded return phone calls to Biglane. During those phone calls, Biglane explained that his son, Peter J. Biglane, and others, were involved in the proposed deal and that Peter Biglane’s company, Oxpatch Resources, LLC, would be the company through which the Biglanes and others would perform the right-of-way work, which would include the title work, appraisal, and acquisition of right-of-way land. Kenneth Biglane further explained that Brown would receive each month from Kenneth Biglane a brown paper bag containing his portion of the profits from the land projects. Evidence shows that each time Kenneth Biglane called Brown, he immediately thereafter called his son, Peter Biglane.
On August 12, 2009, Kenneth Biglane made an unannounced visit to Butch Brown’s office at the Mississippi Department of Transportation in Jackson, and delivered to Brown $10,000.00 as a bribe for right-of-way contracts for the defendants. Evidence shows that $5,000.00 of the bribe funds were withdrawn from Kenneth Biglane’s personal bank account and the remaining $5,000.00 in bribery funds were withdrawn on the same date by Peter Biglane from his Oxpatch Resources, LLC business bank account.
After the Biglanes paid the $10,000.00 bribe to Brown, special agents with the FBI interviewed them. Both admitted their knowledge of and roles in the bribery of Butch Brown.
“Public corruption is the top criminal program investigated by the FBI, focusing on corruption and government fraud at all levels of government,” stated FBI SAC McMullen, “This investigation, and the guilty pleas entered today, are the result of cooperation from Mr. Brown, who was asked by the defendants to participate in a corrupt scheme which involved misusing his office to fraudulently enrich himself and others. Instead of abusing the public’s trust in that manner, he brought this scheme to the attention of the FBI. We are grateful for those who, like Mr. Brown, come forward to report public corruption.”
Kenneth Biglane and Peter Biglane will be sentenced on September 30, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. They each face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlos Tanner.