Lawyers for a former City of Pittsburgh employee who is accused of rigging bids for city contracts have stated that they believe the accused will receive probation. The bid-rigging that was conducted by the employee was found as part of an investigation by federal authorities into the city’s operations. The defendant’s lawyers claim that the city of Pittsburgh was not “materially” harmed by the bid-rigging efforts because in the end, the city selected the lowest bidder which it always does in these situations. And the work for which it was contracted was performed according to that contract.
The defendant pleaded guilty in December of 2012 to helping to defraud the United States government out of grant money by making the claim that one of the contracting companies was a female-owned business, when it in fact was not. The claim led to a contract for the business, which saw the city pay out $327,000 for the installation of laptops into Pittsburgh police cars. The defendant herself was paid $6,000 for her efforts in helping to win the contract, by rigging the bid with the false claim about the owners of the company.
The owner of the company has pled guilty to charges of conspiracy, bribery, and mail fraud, and was sentenced last month to three years of probation. Other investigations stemming from the initial federal probe into the rigged bidding led to the discovery of indiscretions within police bureau operations, as well as the resignation of the former Pittsburgh Chief of Police.
The defendant also was charged with tapping into secret police accounts for personal use, and failure to file income tax returns, charges to which she has pled guilty.
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