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Caltrans Employee Pleads Guilty to Bribery, Bid Rigging, and Contracting Fraud

SACRAMENTO—United States Attorney Benjamin Wagner and FBI Special Agent in Charge Drew Parenti announced that Clint Gregory, 48, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton to bribery, bid rigging, and fraud in connection with contracts issued by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

Gregory admitted that as a result of the fraud, Caltrans incurred a loss of more than $1.2 million. Co-defendants Siavash “Mike” Poursartip, 56, and Sara Shirazi, 52, both of Walnut Creek, were arraigned on August 27, 2010, before the United States Magistrate Judge Kimberly Mueller. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and were released on $50,000 unsecured bonds.

This case is the product of a joint investigation by the FBI and San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office. Caltrans assisted with the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Robin R. Taylor is prosecuting the case.

Continued....
Gregory worked for Caltrans in Stockton as a Senior Transportation Engineer Supervisor. Poursartip and Shirazi operated a company known as Infotek Associates. The plea agreement states that over a five-year period, Poursartip and Shirazi gave Gregory large amounts of cash, a Persian rug, a cellular telephone, and other gifts in exchange for being awarded “Minor B” contracts by Caltrans. Caltrans awards “Minor B” contracts for work or purchases valued at less than $131,000. The Caltrans regulations require bids from at least two certified vendors before awarding Minor B contracts.

The plea agreement states that Gregory, Poursartip, Shirazi, and others, arranged for third party companies to submit straw bids for Minor B contracts, on which Infotek was bidding. They set the amount of the straw bids so that Infotek’s bids would win. These straw companies, who performed no work, were paid a commission for their assistance, and this arrangement was not disclosed to Caltrans.

Gregory also admitted that as part of the bribery and fraud scheme, he used his authority at Caltrans to approve fraudulent invoices submitted by Infotek, and others. As a result, Infotek received payment for work that was never performed. He also admitted that he requested that Infotek provide him with a fictitious invoice to conceal an unlawful purchase he made for parts for his personal airplane. Shirazi prepared the invoice, and Gregory submitted it to Caltrans.

Gregory is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Karlton on January 4, 2011. The maximum penalty for the counts to which he pleaded guilty is 20 years in prison, but his actual sentence will be determined by the judge after consideration of the federal sentencing guidelines. According to the plea agreement, Gregory has agreed to cooperate in prosecution of the remaining defendants.

The charges against Poursartip and Shirazi are only allegations and they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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