Man pleads guilty to bribing FBI official over contract

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — A Virginia man has pleaded guilty to bribing an FBI official to help him win lucrative construction and maintenance contracts worth more than $12 million for an Idaho data center.

Robert Bailey, 63, of Centreville, Virginia, entered the guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Idaho on Thursday, acknowledging that he paid more than $128,000 in exchange for help winning the contracts.

Court records identify the FBI official only as “J.H.”, describing the official as the former contracting officer representative for the Pocatello Data Center project. Court records don’t reveal if the official has been charged.

In court documents, prosecutors say Bailey bought a construction company called L-1 in 2001 in Chantilly, Virginia, and a few years later befriended the FBI employee. When the FBI broke ground on the construction of the Idaho data center in 2017, the FBI official was tasked with overseeing construction.

Bailey and his company made payments and gave valuable items to the FBI employee between 2016 and 2018, including a 50th birthday first-class trip to Texas to watch the Dallas Cowboys play, a beach house rental in North Carolina and other items, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said the gifts and payments were made to influence the FBI employee into helping Bailey get more money for the construction project, including paying his company increased labor rates and paying lodging rates to Bailey when his employees stayed at his house instead of a hotel.

“Public officials who are responsible for administering government contracts bear a great responsibility to do so fairly and with integrity,” Idaho U.S. Attorney Bart Davis said in a prepared statement. “Individuals who seek to entice these public officials to reap an unfair advantage in the contracting process will be held accountable.”

Bailey could face 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 16.

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