Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Ex-U.S. Navy Contract Official Sentenced for Bribery Scheme Where He Netted $1.2 Million in Kickbacks

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A former civilian employee of the United States Navy who was a senior procurement official for Naval Base Ventura County and who received $1.2 million in illegal kickbacks was sentenced Monday to 70 months in federal prison.

Fernando Barroso Sr., 69, of Oxnard, was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter.

In March, Barroso pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of subscribing to a false federal income tax return.

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Barroso admitted in his plea agreement that he defrauded the United States, submitted false claims for payment and accepted bribes.

Barroso worked for 22 years as the master scheduler for the Public Works Department at the Naval Base, which included three facilities – Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island.

In this role, Barroso was an “approving official” responsible for approving material purchases, service contracts, vendors and payments to vendors.

Read MoreFat Leonard Bribery Scandal: 1 Navy officer sentenced, 1 pleads guilty in bribery case

Barroso conspired with Theodore Bauer, a Ventura County businessman who operated three entities that received contracts from the Navy.

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Barroso and Bauer entered into an arrangement in 2008 where Barroso issued and approved work orders and purchase orders for Bauer’s companies.

Bauer submitted false invoices on behalf of his companies, and Barroso approved invoices and payments to Bauer’s companies – even though work was not being performed.

In return, Bauer gave Barroso 50 percent of all proceeds generated by the scheme.

Prior to September 13, 2011, Bauer paid Barroso in cash – a figure that exceeded $375,000. Beginning on September 14, 2011, when Barroso created F. Barroso & Sons, Bauer paid the kickbacks by issuing checks payable to Barroso’s corporation.

In December 2013, Barroso purchased a majority stake in a maintenance company, and Bauer paid kickbacks in the form of checks to that company as well.

The total amount of kickbacks paid by Bauer to Barroso in the form of checks was $846,100.

Barroso admitted in his plea agreement that he violated government procurement regulations and violated conflict of interest laws by approving contract payments to the maintenance company he controlled.

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Read More: Contractor for Navy, Coast Guard Pleads Guilty to Bribery

Barroso further admitted that some of the invoices issued by the maintenance company were simply fraudulent.

Barroso also admitted that he failed to report $95,200 of kickbacks on his 2011 tax return, and that he claimed $331,225 of fictitious deductions on his 2012 tax returns.

These violations caused a tax loss to the government of $105,039. Judge Walter ordered Barroso to pay $1,077,718 in restitution to the U.S. Navy and Internal Revenue Service.

Bauer pleaded guilty in November 2018 to conspiracy to commit bribery and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Walter on July 22.

This matter was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The cases against Barroso and Bauer are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.

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