SACRAMENTO (CBS SF/AP) — Prosecutors say a former contract manager for California’s transportation agency pleaded guilty Monday in what they called an ongoing investigation into a bid rigging and bribery scam involving millions of dollars worth of contracts.
Choon Foo “Keith” Yong agreed to cooperate with the investigation into what prosecutors said was a conspiracy to rig the competitive bidding process for improvement and repair contracts at California Department of Transportation facilities.
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The scheme ensured that companies controlled by his co-conspirators submitted the winning bid and won the contracts, prosecutors said.
The contracts were cumulatively worth more than $8 million, and Yong’s agreement called for him to be awarded at least 10% of the value, according to his plea agreement.
He received cash bribes and other payments in the form of furniture, wine and remodeling services on his home, valued together at more than $800,000, prosecutors said.
He agreed to pay restitution as part of his plea deal in a scam that ran from early 2015 through late 2019, prosecutors said.
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Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the US Justice Department’s Antitrust Division described Yong’s guilty plea as “the first in the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation into bribery and bid rigging at Caltrans.”
Caltrans officials did not immediately comment.
The plea deal says Yong worked with “Contractor A, Contractor B and other co-conspirators,” without naming them. He would “submit the agreed upon bidders’ names — which always included Contractor A” for consideration. Another company would submit a “sham bid” so that Contractor A or another co-conspirator’s company would win the contract.
Contractor A would then pay money or provide other benefits to the co-conspirator bidders.
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