Two contractors have been sentenced for paying bribes to city officials in exchange for work from the city.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Elvin R. Mitchell, Jr. was sentenced to 5 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,120,535 in restitution. He pleaded guilty to bribery and money laundering charges in January. Charles P. Richards, Jr. was sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $193,000 in restitution. He pleaded guilty in February.
Here is the full announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
CONSTRUCTION COMPANY OWNERS SENTENCED
TO FEDERAL PRISON FOR PAYING OVER
$1 MILLION IN BRIBES FOR CITY OF ATLANTA CONTRACTS
ATLANTA – Elvin R. Mitchell, Jr. and Charles P. Richards, Jr. have been sentenced to federal prison for conspiring to pay over $1 million in bribe payments in exchange for receiving lucrative contracts with the City of Atlanta.
“The citizens of Atlanta rightfully expect that government contracts will go to the most qualified bidder and trust that the contracting process will be transparent and fair,” said U. S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “When contractors like Mitchell and Richards pay bribes to get public work, the public’s confidence in the process is undermined and the price of that corruption is borne by the taxpayers.”
“Today’s sentencing hearings in federal court are a direct result of a thorough public corruption investigation consisting of many long hours of work by both federal investigators and their prosecutors,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. “While it is important that both E.R Mitchell and C.P. Richards, Jr. are held accountable for their criminal conduct, the FBI feels that it is also important for others, either public officials or those attempting to illegally influence them, to take note of the harsh consequences of such actions.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to investigating individuals who think that they can get a competitive advantage by cheating the system by paying bribes to get government contracts,” said James Dorsey, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Atlanta Field Office. “Today’s sentencings should act as a deterrence to those who think that they can continue to pay bribes in order to get work.”
According to United States Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: Elvin R. Mitchell, Jr. serves as the owner and operator of E.R. Mitchell Company, Cascade Building System, LLC., E.R. Mitchell Group, Inc. and EC & WT Construction Company, Inc., d/b/a E.R. Mitchell Construction Co. Richards serves as the owner and/or principal of the construction companies C.P. Richards Construction Co., Inc., and C.P. Richards & Associates, Inc.
In an effort to obtain construction-related contracts with the City of Atlanta, Georgia, Mitchell and Richards conspired to pay and paid an individual to obtain government contracts. From approximately 2010 to August 2015, Mitchell paid over $1,000,000 and Richards paid over $185,000 to an individual in exchange for City of Atlanta contracts, believing that some of the money would be paid to city officials who exercised influence over the contracting process.
Mitchell also laundered the money received from the City of Atlanta by attempting to conceal the source of the money and by attempting to evade federal currency transaction reporting requirements by withdrawing cash in amounts under $10,000.
Mitchell, 63, of Atlanta, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $1,120,535 in restitution. On January 25, 2017, Mitchell pleaded guilty to conspiratorial bribery and money laundering.
Richards, 65, of Tucker, Ga., has been sentenced to 2 years and 3 months in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $193,000 in restitution. On February 16, 2017, Richards pleaded guilty to conspiratorial bribery
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation investigated this case.
First Assistant United States Attorney Kurt R. Erskine and Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis prosecuted the case.