The Washington Post

Harold Babb sentenced in federal contracting bribery scheme

A 61-year-old Virginia man was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison for participating in what authorities have called one of the largest bribery schemes in the history of federal contracting.

Harold F. Babb, the former director of contracts at Eyak Technology, also known as EyakTek, pleaded guilty in March to charges of bribery and unlawful kickbacks. He is one of 12 people — including two high-ranking employees at the Army Corps of Engineers — to have pleaded guilty in a long-running scheme that federal prosecutors allege involved the steering of contracts in exchange for more than $30 million in bribe and kickback payments.

The scam became public last October when federal agents arrested Babb and the two Army Corps employees.

Federal prosecutors said that Babb used his position as director of contracting to steal more than $9 million by submitting fraudulent invoices to the Army Corps from 2008 through 2011. Babb divvied up the proceeds with his co-conspirators, prosecutors said, and kept about $345,000 for himself. He used that money to buy a house, a Porsche and another car, prosecutors said.

Because of the way the contracts worked and the large sums of money flowing through his company, Babb played an “integral” role in stealing the money, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Seeley of the U.S. attorney’s office for the District.

“He is a schemer,” Seeley said in court Thursday.

Babb’s attorney, Jeffrey Jacobovitz, argued that Babb should be sentenced to fewer than three years in prison because he cooperated extensively with authorities, had not committed a previous crime and should not be punished as severely as Army Corps officials who have admitted to taking bribes. One of those, Michael Alexander, was sentenced last month to six years in federal prison. Another, Kerry Khan, is awaiting sentencing.

In addition to imposing a prison term of 87 months, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Babb to forfeit $689,342 and to pay restitution of $9.4 million to the federal government.

“Babb accepted his responsibility and would like to move on with his life,” Jacobovitz said after the hearing.

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