California contractor and public official jailed over bid rigging and bribery
26 April 2023
A contractor and a former contract manager for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) have both received prison terms for their roles in a bid-rigging and bribery scheme.
Choon Foo “Keith” Yong, the former Caltrans contract manager, was sentenced to 49 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $984,699.53 in restitution at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento.
William D. Opp, the former contractor, was sentenced to 45 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $797,940.23 in restitution.
Yong and his co-conspirators were accused of engaging in a conspiracy, from early 2015 through late 2019, to ensure that companies controlled by Yong’s co-conspirators submitted the winning bid for Caltrans contracts.
Yong also pleaded guilty for accepting bribes while working for Caltrans. Yong received the bribes in the form of cash payments, wine, furniture and remodelling services on his home. The total value of the payments and benefits that Yong received neared $1 million.
According to a plea agreement filed on 3 October 2022, Opp engaged in the same conspiracy, from early 2015 through at least as late as August 2018.
As part of the conspiracy, Opp formed a separate construction company, with his wife as the nominal president, to submit sham bids on Caltrans contracts. During his participation in the conspiracy, Opp and co-conspirators provided nearly $800,000 in cash bribes and other benefits to Yong.
Yong and Opp are the second and third co-conspirators to be sentenced in the case. On 17 April 2023, former construction company owner Bill R. Miller was sentenced to 78 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay nearly $1 million in restitution.
Director Daniel Glad of the Justice Department’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF) said, “These criminals – including a state employee who sought sales commissions for his role in the bid-rigging scheme – put greed and personal gain ahead of the public trust and are being punished accordingly.
“The Antitrust Division and our PCSF partners are on the lookout for those that try to cheat on government contracts.”
The sentencing is the result of a joint investigation that was conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, and the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office as part of the Justice Department’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF).