February 27, 2013
Florida Couple Pleads Guilty for Roles in Procurement Contract Bribery Scheme
A Florida couple who owned a military contracting company pleaded guilty today in federal court in Salt Lake City for their roles in a bribery and fraud scheme involving federal procurement contracts.
Sylvester and Maria Zugrav were charged in an indictment, returned on Oct. 12, 2011, along with Jose Mendez, a procurement program manager for the U.S. Air Force Foreign Materials Acquisition Support Office (FMASO) at Hill Air Force Base, in Ogden, Utah.
Mendez was charged in the indictment with conspiracy, bribery and procurement fraud, and has since pleaded guilty to all charges and agreed to forfeit more than $180,000 he received as part of the bribery scheme and awaits sentencing.
According to court documents, the Zugravs owned Atlas International Trading Company, a business that contracted to provide foreign military materials to the U.S. government through FMASO. In his plea agreement, Sylvester Zugrav admitted that, from 2008 through August 2011, he gave Mendez more than $180,000 in bribe payments, and offered Mendez more than $1.05 million in additional bribe payments contingent upon Atlas’s receipt of future contracts with FMASO. In exchange for Sylvester Zugrav’s bribe payments and offers, Mendez ensured that Atlas and Sylvester Zugrav received favorable treatment in connection with procurement contracts, including, among other things, assisting Atlas in obtaining and maintaining procurement contracts; assisting Atlas in receiving payments on such contracts; and providing Atlas with contract bid or proposal information or source selection information before the award of procurement contracts.