Former HUD contract specialist pleads guilty in bribery scheme
WASHINGTON — A former contract specialist for the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency has pleaded guilty in a federal bribery scheme that involved giving private information on contracts to a Maryland business in exchange for more than $38,000 in money, travel and hotels, and tickets to Washington Redskins and Washington Wizards games.
Authorities said Kevin Jones, 48, of suburban Laurel, Md., was a contract oversight specialist at HUD starting in 1999, with access to bid offers and particular information about businesses.
Jones, along with another former HUD employee and a former employee for a D.C. educational agency, were involved in the scheme with the same Maryland company, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu of the District.
He made his plea Thursday before a judge in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Prosecutors said that starting in 2010, Jones gave “non-public information” about pending contracts to Charles Thomas, 45, of Lusby, Maryland, who owned a company that offered tech services to the federal and city governments.
In exchange, Thomas gave tickets to sporting events, travel and cash to Jones. The scheme went on for eight years, according to authorities with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
Jones’ information gave Thomas and his company “an unfair competitive advantage” in getting two HUD contracts that were worth more than $4.5 million. Jones personally approved invoices that totaled $3.8 million for work Thomas did on one contract.
Jones received gifts from Thomas and his company that included $13,000 in cash and checks, meals, a camera, a pair of basketball shoes, $6,800 in hotels and travel expenses, $17,000 worth of tickets to Washington Redskins games and three Super Bowls, and $1,700 worth of Washington Wizards tickets.
Another former HUD employee, LaFonda Lewis, also pleaded guilty in January in a similar scheme of giving information to Thomas in exchange for gifts. Lewis, 57, also of Lusby, was a supervisory contract oversight specialist. She is due to be sentenced in March.
Officials said Thomas pleaded guilty last May to several counts of conspiracy and admitted to paying bribes to Jones and Lewis, the two HUD employees, and to Shauntell Harley, an employee at the D.C. State Superintendent of Education office, in return for payments on contracts.
Harley, 49, of Washington, worked as a special education analyst and was terminated from the agency in 2015. She pleaded guilty last spring and was sentenced in July to 56 months in prison for accepting Thomas’ bribes.