Three former civilian employees at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia and a former employee of a military contractor were sentenced to prison this week after pleading guitly to bribery and conspiracy.
Mitchell Potts, 50, of Sylvester, Georgia, the former head of the Defense Logistics Agency Transportation Office at the Georgia base was sentenced to 10 years in prison for two counts of bribery.
Jeffrey Philpot, 38, of Tifton, Georgia, the former lead transportation assistant under Potts in the Transportation Office, was sentenced to seven years in prison for two counts of bribery.
Shelby Janes, 69, of Albany, a former inventory control manager at the Marine Corps base, was sentenced to two years in prison for bribery.
Kelli Durham, 35, of Leesburg, Georgia, the former manager of United Logistics, an Albany, Georgia-based trucking company and transportation broker, was sentenced to six months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The defendants together were ordered to pay more than $2 million in forfeiture and restitution, the DOJ said.
Between 2008 and 2012, Potts and Philpot accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Christopher Whitman, United Logistics’s co-owner, the DOJ said.
In return, the Marine Corps employees made sure United Logistics won trucking contracts from the base.
“These contracts were loaded with gratuitous requirements, such as expedited service, expensive trailers and exclusive use, which requires that freight be shipped separately from other equipment, even if that results in a truck not being filled to capacity,” the DOJ said.
United Logistics grossed more than $37 million over less than four years and cost the government approximately $20 million in overcharges, the government said.
Philpot accepted nearly $575,000 in bribes, including cash, a casino getaway, home improvements and collector items such as rare coins, a baby grand piano, a Werlitzer jukebox, firearms, and a vehicle.
Potts took more than $275,000 in bribes, including cash, free rent, home improvements, meals, and a hunting trip.
Janes accepted nearly $100,000 in bribes and helped Whitman steal more than $1 million in surplus military equipment from the base, including bulldozers, cranes and front-end loaders.
Whitman was sentenced to 22 years in prison earlier this year after a jury in the Middle District of Georgia convicted him of multiple counts of bribery, honest services fraud, theft of government property, and obstruction of justice. He was ordered to forfeit nearly $18.9 million.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.