Sunday, September 13, 2009

Public Works Contracting Bribery Case in Tulsa

As a result of a federal investigation and grand jury indictment stemming from early in 2009, the former owner of a Tulsa, Oklahoma construction company pleaded guilty last week to paying bribes to a City of Tulsa employee to approve and pay fraudulently inflated invoices.

Under the scheme, Max E. Wolf, who founded and was then president of Horizon Construction Co., Inc., would invoice the City of Tulsa for additional amounts above and beyond the work that was actually performed. He then paid City of Tulsa field engineering manager Albert Martinez bribes to process and pay the inflated applications for payment. Martinez has already pleaded guilty. Wolf has agreed to pay $939,000 of restitution in the case.

Wolf will be sentenced on December 14, 2009 and could face up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Others were involved too in the wide ranging procurement scandal that included bribes for influencing decisions to award consulting contracts. There have been five guilty pleas so far with one more guilty plea expected this week.

Here are some links to other information and news articles about the case:
It is important for public agencies to develop processes with checks and balances to prevent such fraudulent activities. Please contact me if you are interested in a pre-audit of control systems your agency currently has in place.

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