An official of the U.S. Postal Service is accused of directing business to a favored contractor in exchange for bribes valued to have been at least $15,000, according to a court document.
Prosecutors laid out the alleged bribery scheme in information filed this week in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The official, Ron Middlebrooks, demanded and accepted money “in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act,” specifically “directing business transporting mail,” the document says. The scheme, it continues, violated federal law prohibiting a public official from receiving a bribe.
The document does not name the contractor involved, describing it as “Company A, a freight shipping airline with government contracts with the U.S. Postal Service.” Middlebrooks’ title has been director of the postal service’s “International Civilian & Military Transportation and Global Networks,” according to materials from a Georgetown University conference he spoke at last year.
The document is not an indictment. The presentation of potentially criminal information to a federal court is often a prelude to a plea agreement.
Middlebrooks is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 24. He is represented by Schertler & Onorato’s Danny Onorato, according to the court’s docket. Onorato declined to comment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Haray, who is handling the case, works in the fraud and public corruption section of the U.S. attorney’s office. He did not immediately return a call for comment. He is a lead prosecutor in a high-profile Foreign Corrupt Practices Act sting case, also in Washington federal district court.
The document says Middlebrooks will be forfeiting the proceeds of the alleged bribery scheme, including at least $15,000 and another $13,400 that the document says was “recovered” from Middlebrooks on Jan. 5, 2011.
Updated at 5:05 p.m.