A Texas military contractor pleaded guilty yesterday to rigging bids on public military contracts in Texas and Michigan.
Yesterday, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Texarkana Division, John “Mark” Leveritt, 62, pleaded guilty to rigging bids on government contracts from at least May 2013 through April 2018.
According to court documents, Leveritt conspired with others to rig bids on certain government contracts in order to give the false impression of competition and to secure government payments in excess of $17.5 million. The plea agreement detailed seven contracting bids that Leveritt and his co-conspirator rigged, which included work performed for the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana and the U.S. Contracting Command in Warren, Michigan.
Leveritt also admitted to falsely representing himself to be an employee of one business so that he could obtain government contracts that were set aside for qualifying businesses that were required to be owned and operated by certain categories of minority, disadvantaged or disabled persons. In fact, the work for some of the contracts was performed by businesses that had not placed any bids. Leveritt also admitted to providing a government employee with: tickets to a 2011 World Series game, tickets to two college football games, two expense-paid family vacations to Las Vegas, donations to youth sports teams coached by the government employee and approximately 100 meals at restaurants.
“U.S. taxpayers deserve to know that the government contracting process is not subverted through collusion,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Bid rigging undermines the competitive process, wastes taxpayer dollars and deprives businesses that follow the rules of the right to fair competition. Investigating and prosecuting this case and others involving government contracting is a top priority for the Department of Justice and all members of the Procurement Collusion Strike Force.”
“The United States government offers many economic opportunities to the free market for fair contracts and the welcomed employment of many people,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston for the Eastern District of Texas. “When thieves take advantage of the taxpayer and of those persons trying to compete fairly for contracts, their felonious acts undermine the confidence built into the contracting process.”
“Rigging bids undermines the benefits of competition and takes money out of the pockets of taxpayers,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The public deserves a level playing field when doing business with the government. The FBI, hand in hand with our law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate those who corrupt the systems established to protect American citizens from this type of fraud.”
“Bid rigging disrupts the government contracting process and leads to waste and unfair bid competition,” said Special Agent-in-Charge L. Scott Moreland of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division’s Major Procurement Fraud Field Office. “This guilty plea demonstrates how CID’s highly-trained special agents in our fraud unit, matched with other federal partnerships, aids in combating and uncovering fraud, deception, bribery and other criminal acts.”
Leveritt pleaded guilty to a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime if either amount is greater than the statutory maximum fine. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other relevant factors.
The Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section is prosecuting the case, which was investigated with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division’s Dallas Fraud Resident Agency and the FBI’s Dallas Field Office.
Anyone with information in connection with this investigation should contact the Antitrust Division’s Complaint Center at 888-647-3258, or visit http://www.justice.gov/atr/report-violations.
In November 2019, the Department of Justice created the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF), a joint law enforcement effort to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement, grant and program funding at all levels of government – federal, state and local. To learn more about the PCSF, or to report information on market allocation, price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct related to defense-related spending, go to https://www.justice.gov/procurement-collusion-strike-force.