September 20, 2013

A tip to the OIG Hotline in May 2012 led OIG special agents to investigate a U.S. Postal Service purchasing and supply management specialist who was allegedly receiving bribes in return for providing confidential information to a Postal Service computer consulting contractor. The specialist allegedly received several cash bribes between $2,500 and $5,000 from the husband and wife owners of the consulting company for bid information on pending contracts and for approving false invoices submitted to the Postal Service. Analysis of the specialist’s emails revealed a pattern of sending confidential Postal Service contract information to the consulting company’s owners. Email messages also indicated that the specialist frequently met with the owners to obtain cash payments.

In July 2012, special agents executed search warrants on the specialist’s personal residence and on the business location of the computer consulting company. During an interview, the specialist admitted to receiving approximately $40,000 in bribes from the company owners for providing proprietary Postal Service information, including other vendors’ proposals and labor rates, and for ensuring the Postal Service quickly processed and paid the contactor’s invoices. The specialist also allowed the consulting company to complete surveys and evaluations in the specialist’s name to be the most competitive bidder on additional government contracts.

The specialist pleaded guilty in February 2013 to one count of Bribery, and was removed from the Postal Service a few months later. The husband and wife co-owners of the computer consulting company each pleaded guilty to one count of Bribery. The wife also pleaded guilty to bribery on behalf of the consulting company.

In May 2013, the specialist was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by 3 years of probation, and ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution. The Postal Service suspended the consulting company and its co-owners in July 2013, and debarred them for 3 years. On July 26, 2013, the husband co-owner received a sentence of 12 months and 1 day in prison followed by 1 year of probation. The company was ordered to pay a $75,000 fine. Sentencing of the wife is on hold pending successful completion of a 3‑year probationary period, at which point the bribery charges will be dismissed.