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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Former Department of Energy Procurement Officer Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes for Nearly $1 Million in Federal Contracts

Some of the electronic components that Anthony procured from MSHT for DOE based upon Montenes’s bribes failed and caused a fire.

In federal court in Central Islip, Jami Anthony, the former Small Business Program Liaison and Procurement Officer for a Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory based in Virginia, pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging her with receiving bribes as a federal official in connection with a scheme to pay her more than $18,000 in exchange for more than $900,000 in DOE contracts. The proceeding was held before United States Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields.  When sentenced, Anthony faces up to 15 years in prison.  As part of her guilty plea, Anthony agreed to forfeit approximately $18,800.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Teri L. Donaldson, Inspector General, DOE, announced the guilty plea.

“Motivated by greed, Anthony’s actions betrayed the Department of Energy and resulted in the purchase of electronic components that caused major fire damage to a government laboratory,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “Corruption undermines the integrity of competitive bidding in the procurement process and will be aggressively prosecuted.”

Mr. Peace thanked the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, for its work on the case.

Teri L. Donaldson, the Department of Energy Inspector General said, “Bribing public officials is terrible behavior.  Taking bribes when working as a public official representing the U.S government is even worse.  We simply will not tolerate these betrayals of the public’s trust.  We will continue to work with our partners at the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices to detect such behaviors and bring those involved to justice.”

Between approximately December 2017 and December 2020, Michael Montenes, the owner of M.S. Hi-Tech, Incorporated (MSHT), a Hauppauge-based distributor of electronic components, paid Anthony approximately $18,800 in bribes to induce her to enter into contracts for electronic components that MSHT supplied to the DOE’s Virginia laboratory.  Montenes mailed these payments, which ranged from $500 to $7,200, from Long Island to Anthony in Virginia.  In exchange for the bribes, Anthony awarded MSHT contracts worth more than $900,000, which represented 95% of all of MSHT’s sales to the DOE’s Virginia laboratory.  In July 2021, some of the electronic components that Anthony procured from MSHT for DOE based upon Montenes’s bribes failed and caused a fire, resulting in approximately $1.8 million in repairs and other costs to DOE.

In May 2023, Montenes pleaded guilty to bribing Anthony.  He also faces up to 15 years in prison.  As part of his guilty plea, Montenes agreed to forfeit approximately $969,000 and to pay DOE more than $1.8 million in restitution.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Bradley T. King is in charge of the prosecution.

Read more at the Justice Department

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