- A contractor pleaded guilty for his role in a four-year bid-rigging and bribery scheme that targeted contract awards from the California DOT, the Department of Justice announced.
- Bill R. Miller, owner of Sanger, California-based BRM Construction, bribed a Caltrans official with more than $800,000 in cash, goods and services and gamed the agency's bidding process from 2015 to 2019 to steer awards to his company or those of his co-conspirators, the Justice Department said. Miller admitted to the charges in a plea agreement.
- Miller schemed with his former business partner, William D. Opp, and bribed former Caltrans contract manager Choon Foo “Keith” Yong to stack bids in their favor. Both Opp and Yong previously pleaded guilty to their involvement in the ruse.
Throughout the conspiracy, Miller recruited other contractors, such as Opp, to submit sham bids and steer Caltrans contracts to himself and others, according to Miller’s plea agreement.
Opp formed a separate company and named his wife as president to facilitate the ploy, DOJ said. According to Yong’s plea agreement, Yong received the bribes in the form of cash payments, wine, furniture and remodeling services on his home.
Attorneys for Miller and Yong did not respond to requests for comment and Opp’s attorney, Brian Gurwitz, declined to comment. Miller did not respond to phone or email messages. Caltrans officials did not respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment in time for publication.
The probe was a partnership between the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division’s San Francisco office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California and the FBI’s Sacramento Division as part of the Justice Department’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force.
Miller is the highest level contractor to plead guilty in the case, said Jonathan Kanter, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s antitrust division, in the release.
“Transportation infrastructure is critical to our nation, so punishing bid-rigging and bribery schemes that target public works remains a top priority for the division and its Procurement Collusion Strike Force partners,” Kanter said.
The strike force was formed in November 2019 to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement, grants and program funding at the federal, state and local levels.
Miller is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 6, 2023, and could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison each for the bid-rigging and bribery charges, and fines up to $1.25 million, according to the release.