Two officials from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) won’t be showing up at work anytime soon; they were arrested for allegedly taking $140,000 in bribes from snow-removal contractors. The four contractors involved will also face fraud charges.
According to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, the illegal arrangement started in the 2013-2014 snow season and involved more than $9.1 million in contracts. In exchange for bribes, the officials allegedly steered snow-clearing work to the four contractors. They then got a cut of the contractors’ payments from the commonwealth.
The indictment states that Anthony Willie, 54, and his deputy, Kenneth Adams, 41, secretly sought “to enrich themselves by corruptly demanding and agreeing to receive and accept bribes in exchange for being influenced in the performance of official acts in their roles as public officials.” Adams, whose title was supervisor of maintenance, also secretly operated as a VDOT subcontractor through a company named Supreme Landscaping.
Willie was charged with honest-services mail and wire fraud. Adams was charged with fraud, along with the four Northern Virginia contractors, Rolando Alfonso Pineda Moran, Shaheen Sariri, John Lee Williamson and Elmer Antonio Mejia.
All six men were also charged with conspiracy. The maximum penalty for each count is 20 years in prison.
Mejia, who owns DW&J Trucking and DW&E Trucking, allegedly “paid Adams more than $160,000, frequently disguising the payments as pay for snow removal work” from 2011 through 2016, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The arrests are the result of a joint investigation by the FBI, the Virginia State Police, the Fairfax County Police Department and the VDOT Assurance and Compliance Office.