Red River Army Depot officials charged in bribery, conspiracy scheme

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gavel generic(WAVE 3 News)
Published: May. 18, 2021 at 3:46 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) - According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, four people, including two Red River Army Depot (RRAD) officials, have been charged with federal violations.

Jimmy Scarbrough, 69, of Hooks, was an RRAD supervisor and is charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to defraud the United States and 36 counts of bribery.

Devin McEwin, 41, of Avery, an RRAD official, has also been charged with bribery and is scheduled to plead guilty.

Jeffrey Harrison, 43, of Texarkana, and Justin Bishop, 50, of Clarksville, both RRAD vendors, are pleading guilty to bribery charges.

“The Red River Army Depot is a key component of our nation’s defense infrastructure and is the lifeblood of the surrounding community,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “Scarbrough, Harrison, Bishop, McEwin, and others exploited the public trust in order to line their own pockets, and undermined the warfighting mission of the Depot in the process.”

According to information presented in court, Scarbrough was the Equipment Mechanic Supervisor at the RRAD in Texarkana, Texas, from November 2001 until May 2019. Scarbrough is alleged to have directed more than $7 million in purchases from RRAD to Harrison and Bishop through the government purchase card (GPC) program.

Scarbrough manipulated the GPC program, which is designed to ensure a competitive bidding process, by telling the vendors what to bid, including the item, quantity and price. By collecting fake bids from multiple vendors, Scarbrough was able to direct RRAD purchases to Harrison and Bishop, while maintaining the appearance of a competitive bidding process.

Scarbrough also falsely certified that he had received the purchased items, causing the RRAD to pay his select vendors. However, Scarborough instructed the vendors not to deliver certain RRAD-purchased items.

Scarbrough accepted bribes in various forms, including receiving at least $116,000 in U.S. Postal Service money orders from Harrison. Scarbrough also had Harrison and Bishop purchase at least $135,000 in car parts or services for his hot rod collection, which included a red and black 1936 Ford Tudor, an electric green1932 Ford Coupe, a cherry red 1951 Ford F-1 truck and more.

Scarbrough received more than $27,000 worth of firearms from Bishop, including rare Colt handguns and Wurfflein dueling pistols. Finally, Scarbrough directed at least $32,000 in donations to the Hooks Volunteer Fire Department while he was the Capitan of Operations. In total, Scarbrough received more than $300,000 in bribe payments from Harrison and Bishop.

Devin McEwin accumulated more than $21,000 in bribes from Harrison, including hunting trips, donations directed to the Annona Volunteer Fire Department and the refurbishment of his 1964 Ford truck.

The defendants each face up to 15 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

“These guilty pleas are a direct reflection of the tenacity and teamwork by MPFU special agents and our law enforcement partners,” said SA Ray Rayos, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Southwest Fraud Field Office, Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU), U.S. Army CID. “Bribery and other fraud schemes have no place in the government contracting system and those who attempt it will be caught.”

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