A Great Falls, Virginia, businessman was sentenced a little more than seven years in prison for bribing officials at the Army Corps of Engineers for contracts.
Young N. Cho, also known as Alex Cho, received an 88-month sentence and must repay $7.6 million to the Corps for his role in the bid-rigging scheme, according to the Department of Justice. He also must pay a forfeiture judgment of another $6.9 million. The sentencing took place on Oct. 8, a day before the Justice Department announced it.
From 2007 to 2011, Cho, as chief technology officer for Nova Datacom, paid $17 million in bribes to former Army Corps program manager Kerry F. Khan and another $1 million to former program manager Michael A. Alexander to get government contracts, according to the Justice Department. He also conspired with officials to steer a contract worth nearly $1 billion to his company, according to Justice..
For three years, Nova Datacom submitted invoices to the government for equipment and services totaling $45 million, $18 million of which was either fraudulent or inflated, Cho admitted.
Cho also admitted to bribing Harold F. Babb, former director of contracts at Eyak Technology,with $700,000 to help process the cooked invoices.
In total, the bid-rigging scheme, which DOJ officials called "the largest in the history of federal contracting cases", claimed more than $30 million in taxpayer money.
"Cho is just one of 20 crooked contractors, government officials and other middlemen who have pled guilty as part of this investigation," said Vincent H. Cohen Jr., acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. "His prison sentence is proof that the temptation to cheat the system by paying off corrupt government employees is not worth it."
Cho and 19 others, pleaded guilty to federal charges, which include bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and money laundering and to defraud the United States. In addition, Khan was sentenced to 19 years and seven months, Alexander was sentenced to six years, and Babb seven years and three months.
"More than six years after initiating one of the largest procurement fraud cases in history, this sentence demonstrates that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have a long memory when it comes to holding accountable those who engage in bribes and kickbacks," said Paul M. Abbate, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office. "The FBI will continue to diligently work to protect the integrity of our government by pursuing those who seek to violate the system through corruption."
The U.S. Attorney's Office said that it was able to recover the entire $30 million stolen through forfeiture, restitution and civil settlements.