A retired U.S. Department of Defense worker and a Macon businessman have pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to bribe a public official.
Stationed at Robins Air Force Base, 58-year-old Mark E. Cundiff was responsible for providing technical engineering support to military aircraft operations at the base. As part of his job duties, he also prepared performance work statements — documents describing the Air Force’s requirements — when the base solicited bids for new contracts, according to a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.
Cundiff, who retired in January 2014, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to bribe a public official and filing a false tax return, according to court records.
John Christopher Reynolds, 54, owner of Macon-based Reynolds Engineering Inc., pleaded guilty Wednesday to aiding and abetting in the giving of a gratuity to a public official.
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An investigation began after a complaint was filed with the Department of Defense in 2012, alleging that a company was being improperly disqualified from certain NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency contracts, according to Cundiff’s plea agreement.
According to that agreement:
The complaint alleged that there was an inappropriate relationship between Cundiff and Raymond F. Williams, the owner and chief executive officer of Ohio-based U.S. Technology Corp. The corporation is the parent company of U.S. Technology Aerospace Engineering Corp., which has an office in Byron.
The complaint was filed by a competitor of U.S. Technology Corp.
In 2004 or 2005, Williams asked that Cundiff help him win PMB contracts at Robins Air Force Base. At his request, and with his help, Cundiff prepared each performance work statement so the specifications minimally matched those of U.S. Technology Corp.’s products, giving the company a “substantial advantage” in winning the contracts.
In exchange for the help, Williams paid Cundiff. Williams also purportedly “caused payments to be made” by his corporation to Reynolds and others serving as intermediaries, and to Cundiff totaling $870,000.
Reynolds accepted payments as large as $40,000 a month from U.S. Technology and funneled money to Cundiff, federal prosecutor Paul McCommon said during Reynolds’ Wednesday plea hearing.
Cundiff received payments totaling $274,000 over the course of several years and failed to report the payments on his tax returns between 2009 and 2013, resulting in a tax loss to the Internal Revenue service of $110,058, according to his plea agreement.
He has agreed to pay $110,058 in restitution to the IRS and faces a maximum eight years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Cundiff’s lawyer, Charles E. Cox Jr., said his client “is extremely remorseful for his conduct and is cooperating completely with the government.”
Reynolds signed a plea agreement with prosecutors in December 2013, but he didn’t officially enter his guilty plea until Wednesday. He faces a maximum two years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
Reynolds’ lawyer, Brian Jarrard, declined comment after the hearing.
Cundiff and Reynolds have been released on their own recognizance until they are sentenced.
Sentencing hearings have not been scheduled.
Asked if Williams also faces charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment. Attempts to reach Williams were unsuccessful Wednesday.