A private contractor and a former D.C. government employe who participated in an illegal purchasing scheme were given substantial prison sentences yesterday by a federal judge who said he wanted to warn other city workers that "corruption . . . is not going to be tolerated."
"I hope the word goes out of this courtroom . . . to others similarly situated and tempted . . . that punishment and deterrence will be the standard," said U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey.
Richey made his remarks as he ordered Dwayne E. Moore, 38, a former D.C. Department of Employment Services supervisor, to serve from 20 months to five years in federal prison and fined him $10,000.
Clarence B. Wade Jr., 31, a private contractor who ran a department job training program, was sentenced to 56 months to 14 years in prison. Wade was fined $10,000.
Moore and Wade were jailed immediately after being sentenced. Moore must serve 20 months of his sentence before he is eligible for parole, and Wade must serve a minimum of 56 months before he can be released, according to Daniel J. Bernstein, the assistant U.S. attorney who handled the case.
Urging that Moore and Wade be imprisoned, federal prosecutors said in a memorandum filed in court that the illegal purchasing scheme demonstrates "a situation all too pervasive in the agencies of the District of Columbia."
"Administrative record keeping is sloppy, and through the absence of checks and balances, officials in responsible positions can steal the taxpayers' money with impunity," said the memo, signed by Bernstein and U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova.
Alphonse G. Hill, deputy mayor for finance, called the prosecutors' statements "slanderous accusations that are unfounded, unsubstantiated and undocumented."
Hill said in a statement that the city has a strong system of financial and administrative controls and for the last five years has received a clean bill of health from independent auditors hired to annually review the city's financial system.
"In almost every case where there has been some taking of money," Hill said, the city "has been able to ferret out dishonesty and lack of integrity . . . . "
D.C. Auditor Otis H. Troupe said the prosecutors' statement on possible theft by city employes "unnecessarily impugned the honesty of the corps of professional civil servants." But Troupe said prosecutors are correct in saying that there are inadequate controls over how city money is spent.
Prosecutors said that the illegal purchasing scheme was not detected by "any internal audit or suspicious acts committed by the defendants and observed by their superiors," but came to light because of a "totally . . . unforseen circumstance" involving an allegation of sexual abuse against Wade.
After the purchasing scheme was uncovered last year, Barry ordered a separate investigation of the employment services department by the city inspector general, which resulted in Barry's imposing tighter financial and administrative controls over the agency.
The inspector general also turned up evidence that has prompted a federal grand jury to investigate whether Ivanhoe Donaldson, Barry's top political adviser and the city Democratic chairman, misused about $30,000 in city funds in 1981 when he headed up the employment services department.
Moore and Wade had previously pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy charge for participating in a scheme along with Crystal Willis, the department's former chief fiscal officer, to use more than $4,000 in city funds to buy chandeliers, lamps and other electrical fixtures for themselves. The fraud conspiracy charge carried a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Wade's sentence was longer because he pleaded guilty to a separate charge of taking indecent liberties with a child, a crime that has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Wade got his contract with the department through Matthew F. Shannon, the department's director, at a time when Wade was the boyfriend of Shannon's sister, according to Wade and prosecutors.