Prosecutors: Wife blew whistle on husband in VRE ‘kickback’ scheme

March 19, 2013

The wife of a former Virginia Railway Express employee who accepted bribes to help a subcontractor revealed her husband’s scheme, but also helped him conceal his crimes for years, prosecutors said in court documents filed in Alexandria federal court.

Angela Jannell, 50, the wife of former VRE facilities manager Kevin W. Jannell, was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton for her role in the “kickback” scheme to one year of probation, according to Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

The sentence for one count of “misprision of a felony,”or failing to report a crime, included six months of home confinement and 40 hours of community service, Carr said.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Kevin Jannell, a former facilities manager at VRE, gave a subcontractor — identified as “Company A” in court documents — positive internal evaluations and spoke with the primary maintenance contractor’s executives to help ensure the company was retained, according to court documents. The couple received around $357,000 in funds between 2003 and March 2012, prosecutors say.

Angela Jannell was named president of the shell company that the couple used to deposit the funds.

Jannell’s sentence was less than federal prosecutors sought. While Jannell was the source of an anonymous March 2012 e-mail that went out to area legislators outlining the bribery scheme, prosecutors said she should have disclosed the scheme earlier.

The e-mail, defense attorneys argued, led to state and federal investigations and the conviction of her husband.

“Ms. Jannell was questioned and she provided relevant information for the FBI to initiate an investigation which continues to this day,” court documents say.

Denise Tassi, Jannell’s lawyer, couldn’t be reached for comment immediately Tuesday.

Jannell’s e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, was signed “A Very Concerned VRE Patron” and said there was “unsavory practice in the contract procurement procedure” and outlines the “kickback” scheme.

Court documents say the couple is getting a divorce.

“Ultimately, Kevin Jannell’s bribery scheme was difficult to detect because a person like [Angela Jannell], in position to notify the authorities, not only failed to do so but chose to ignore it so she could enjoy the fruits of the crime,” prosecutors said in arguing for a prison term of between 15 and 21 months.

Kevin Jannell pleaded guilty and was sentenced in January to two years in prison.

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