USDA Official Admits Receiving Bribes in Exchange for Preferential Treatment in the Award of Security Contracts

Richard Holman, a 69-year-old Virginia resident and former Chief of the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination, Physical Security Division, pled guilty today in federal court in the District of Columbia to one count of bribery.

According to court papers, between July 2013 and December 2015, Eric Schneider and Communications Resources, Inc. (CRI) gave Holman and other USDA officials Corvette wheels, concert tickets, PGA tour tickets, meals, alcohol, strip clubs, parking, concierge medical services, prescription drugs, and other cash tips. In exchange, Holman gave Eric Schneider and CRI preferential treatment in the award of USDA contracts worth over $19 million. As part of the scheme, CRI employees drafted procurement documents in such a way as to favor the award of a multi-million dollar contract to CRI, and USDA officials used the documents in the procurement process as if they prepared them.

Holman pled guilty in United States District Court for the District of Columbia.  United States District Judge Carl J. Nichols is presiding over the case.  Sentencing is scheduled for August 10, 2021.  The maximum penalty for bribery is 15 years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss of the offense. Schneider plead guilty to conspiracy and obstruction for his role in the scheme last year.

The Washington Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Beltsville Field Office of the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigated the case, along with assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services OIG, the Department of State OIG and the Small Business Administration OIG.  Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Aloi of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section is prosecuting the case.

Read more at the Justice Department

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