Maryland businessman sentenced to prison for paying bribes to federal, DC workers

A Maryland man who admitted to running a bribery scheme involving federal and local government employees was sentenced to time behind bars and must repay the money he fraudulently took from D.C.

Back in May 2018, Charles Thomas, of Lusby, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of conspiracy to pay gratuities and violate the Procurement Integrity Act.

Prosecutors said the 47-year-old was running three different schemes and sent nearly $130,000 in cash and gifts. It involved one District worker at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and two employees at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The bribery payments were made over the course of several years between 2010 and 2015.

In the case involving the District government, prosecutors said Thomas, who ran an information technology services company, made approximately $53,000 in payments to OSSE employee Shauntell Harley.

In return, Harley helped Thomas by providing information needed to create fraudulent invoices for services that the company never performed totaling $179,999.

Harley has already been convicted on charges and sentenced to 56 months in prison for her role.

Thomas also bribed a couple of HUD employees to get inside information on pending contracts.

Kevin Jones received more than $50,000 in tickets for sporting events, travel and cash. Former supervisor LaFonda Lewis also accepted cash, sports tickets and designer handbags in the amount of more than $23,000.

Lewis was already sentenced to a year and a day in prison, and Jones received 2 years.

In addition to the prison time and repayment of the almost $180,000 taken from D.C., Thomas is ordered to pay a forfeiture money judgment in the same amount and will be placed on two years of supervised release once his prison term is complete.

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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