Final defendant in Robins fraud case sentenced; Individuals, businesses to pay back millions

  • Published
  • By Pamela Lightsey
  • U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Georgia, PIO

Charles "Charlie" E. Peeler, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced the defendant in the center of a scheme to award millions of dollars in military contracts in exchange for illegal kickbacks at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., was sentenced in federal court Feb. 20, 2019.

The Honorable Marc Treadwell sentenced Mark Cundiff, 60, of Macon, Ga., to 36 months in prison followed by two years supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitutions of $110,050 to the Internal Revenue Service and $270,000 to the U.S. Treasury.

The case was investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Procurement Fraud Detachment 5, Operating Location-A, Robins AFB, Ga., the Federal Bureau of Investigation   and Department of Defense/Defense Criminal Investigative Service. 

Two co-defendants and businesses previously entered guilty pleas and were sentenced in this case. Co-defendant Raymond F. Williams of Canton, Ohio, was sentenced in Albany Federal Court Jan. 8, 2019, by the Honorable Leslie Gardner to 60 months in prison, three years supervised release and restitution of $870,000 to the U.S. Department of Defense on the charge of Conspiracy to Bribe a Public Official.

In addition, two businesses owned by Mr. Williams, US Technology Corporation (UST) and US Technology Aerospace Engineering Corporation (USTAE) were ordered by Judge Gardner to pay $1,500,000 in fines plus $870,000 in restitution apiece on Money Laundering Conspiracy charges. Co-defendant John Christopher Reynolds of Macon, was sentenced in August 2018 by Judge Treadwell to 12 months and a day for Aiding and Abetting the Giving of a Gratuity to a Public Official. There is no parole in the federal system. 

Mr. Cundiff was a long-term DoD employee at Robins AFB from 1982 until retiring in January 2014. He was responsible for technical engineering support to military aircraft maintenance operations.  Part of his official duties was to prepare a Performance Work Statement (PWS) when RAFB was soliciting bidders for new contracts. A PWS is a document describing the requirements necessary for a bidding company to meet the needs of the Air Force on a particular job, and is in place to ensure fairness in the federal bidding process, where contracts can be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Sometime in 2004 or 2005, Mr. Williams requested that Mr. Cundiff provide inside help with winning contracts. In exchange for cash payments, Mr. Cundiff wrote each PWS so the contract requirements could only be met by Mr. Williams. Starting in 2011, Mr. Reynolds funneled payments to Mr. Cundiff from Mr. Williams, by submitting fake invoices to Mr. Williams’ company, UST. Mr. Reynolds was hired by UST to provide engineering support for $40,000 a month, but no work was involved in this sub-contract beyond a few small items. At the time, Mr. Cundiff was living in a home owned by Mr. Reynolds who would take the monthly invoice payment from UST, subtract the rental money he used to pay down the mortgage on the property he owned, and give the remaining balance to Mr. Cundiff. In all, Mr. Cundiff would receive amounts between $2,000 and $8,000 dollars in kickbacks monthly from when the scheme began in 2004 or 2005 until November 2013. Mr. Cundiff retired from RAFB in January 2014. During the conspiracy, Mr. Williams directed payments from UST of $870,000 to pay bribes to Mr. Cundiff and to reward Mr. Reynolds and others for serving as intermediaries in the payment of those bribes. Mr. Williams received benefits from Mr. Cundiff’s efforts amounting to at least $14,450,000.

“Millions of dollars in federal contracts were directed to one company in exchange for cash bribes – this is not the American way,” said Peeler. “It’s a gross injustice for all hard-working, rule-abiding people when a few individuals cheat the system for their benefit. It isn’t fair, and government fraud won’t be tolerated by this Office, especially when it impacts our military.”

Assistant United States Attorney Paul C. McCommon, III prosecuted the case for the United States.