Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Former Delaware manufacturing executive gets 20 months in prison for bribing Amtrak official

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Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that John P. Gonzales, 61 of Milford, DE, was sentenced today to 20 months in prison and one year of supervised release by United States District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick for his involvement in a bribery scheme to provide an Amtrak official with cash and vacations in exchange for lucrative federal contracts.

In February 2019, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of federal program bribery. For a roughly two-year period from 2015 through 2017, Gonzales, an Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for a small Delaware-based manufacturing firm, bribed Timothy Miller, a Lead Contract Administrator working in procurement for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (a/k/a “Amtrak”). Miller awarded more than $7.6 million in contracts to the defendant’s firm in exchange for bribes of approximately $20,000 and other things of value, including trips to Rehoboth Beach arranged by Gonzales and another executive at the firm.

“When businesses and public officials conspire to bypass the competitive bidding process, they not only harm other businesses seeking to compete, but they also undermine public confidence in the integrity of public works,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “John Gonzales purchased influence with a government agency, Amtrak, and for that he must now face serious consequences. Our Office will continue to investigate and prosecute public corruption wherever it exists at all levels of government.”

“We hope the results of this case send a clear message about the consequences of bribery and bid rigging—our office will vigorously investigate and help bring to justice those who threaten Amtrak’s and the taxpayers’ funds,” said Kevin Winters, Amtrak’s Inspector General. “Throughout this case, we have been proud of the professionalism and mutual support displayed by our agents, the U.S. Attorney’s office, the FBI, IRS, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.”

“John Gonzales resorted to bribery to generate business for his firm, greasing the palm of an Amtrak employee,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “His corruption seemed to pay off for a time, yielding millions in government contracts. Ultimately, of course, those actions have cost him dearly. If you’re going after taxpayer dollars dishonestly, if you’re trampling all over what’s intended to be a level playing field, you too can earn yourself a stay in federal prison.”

The case was investigated by the Amtrak Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U. S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eric L. Gibson.

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