Albany military contractors plead guilty to bribery
4:44 pm, January 11th, 2013
Two employees of an Albany machine products company have pleaded guilty to bribing a public official in order to secure military contracts, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced today.
Thomas J. Cole, Jr., 43, -the general manager of an Albany machine products firm – and Fredrick W. Simon, 55, — one of his sales employees — pleaded guilty to bribing a purchasing agent at the the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany in order to secure machine products contracts, according to U.S. Attorney Michael Moore.
The indictment did not name the company for which Cole and Simon worked and identified the purchasing agent only as Public Official A.
During the plea hearing, the two men admitted their role in a scheme to subvert the competitive bid process in order to secure sales contracts from the base maintenance center and acknowledged that they also had overcharged the U.S. Defense Department more than $900,000, according to federal prosecutors.
The maintenance center rebuilds and repairs ground combat and combat support equipment for use in foreign military missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the world, prosecutors said.
Cole and Simon told the court that the purchasing agent solicited the bribes after Simon had spoken with the agent about how his company could obtain base business, prosecutors said. The two men paid the purchasing agent $75 for each of nearly 1,300 sales orders that the base maintenance center then placed with their company. The purchasing agent ordered products at inflated prices.
According to court documents in the case, the purchasing agent would send bids to Simon and then would privately tip him as to how much money his firm should bid for each order.
The defendants acknowledged that the sales orders they secured were “extremely profitable,” and often exceeded the fair market value of the products they sold by as much as 1,000 percent, prosecutors said.
Cole and Simon told the court they paid an estimated $161,000 in bribes over a two-year period, prosecutors said. Cole skimmed approximately $209,000 from the military contracts for his personal use; Simon admitted that he skimmed approximately $74,500 from the contracts, prosecutors said.
Both men have agreed to forfeit the ill-gotten funds.
They also face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine that could rise as high as $1.8 million, prosecutors said.
Albany attorney Phillip Cannon, who represented the two defendants, was in court this morning and could not be reached for comment.