Defense procurement official sentenced for role in contract bribery scheme

  • Published
  • By OSI Public Affairs
  • Air Force Office of Special Investigations
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations, in conjunction with the FBI, supported the successful prosecution of a Utah man who was sentenced to 24 months in prison for his role in a bribery and fraud scheme involving federal procurement contracts.

Jose Mendez, 50, of Farr West, Utah, pleaded guilty in October 2011 to conspiracy and to committing bribery and procurement fraud. Mendez was charged in an October 2011 indictment, along with Sylvester Zugrav, 71, and Maria Zugrav, 67, owners of Atlas International Trading Company, Sarasota, Fla. The Zugravs were sentenced Jan. 8, 2014.

According to court documents, Mendez, who worked as a procurement program manager at Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah, conspired to enrich himself by providing favorable treatment in the procurement process and disclosing non-public information in exchange for money and things of value. Court records indicate that Mendez was offered $1,240,500 in payments and other things of value throughout the course of the conspiracy. Mendez admitted that from approximately 2008 to August 2011, he received more than $185,000 and other things of value, with promises of additional bribery payments if Atlas received future U.S. government contracts.

In return for the bribes offered and paid, Mendez admitted he gave Atlas and the Zugravs favorable treatment during the procurement process, including disclosing government budget and competitor bid information, which helped Atlas and the Zugravs win contracts.

The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's District of Utah Criminal Division Public Integrity Section.

(Originally released by the Criminal Division Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs)