Red River Army Depot officials, vendors sentenced in federal bribery & conspiracy scheme

(MGN)
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 1:50 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) - Four people, including two Red River Army Depot (RRAD) officials, have been sentenced for their roles in a federal bribery and conspiracy case.

U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston made the announcement Tuesday, Sept. 13.

DETAILS

  • Jeffrey Harrison, 44, of Texarkana - A former RRAD vendor, Harrison pleaded guilty May 18, 2021 to bribing a former RRAD official, Jimmy Scarbrough, and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison on Sept. 13, 2022. He was also ordered to forfeit $300,000.
  • Justin Bishop, 52, of Clarksville - Also a former RRAD vendor, Bishop pleaded guilty May 18, 2021 to bribing Scarbrough and was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison on Sept. 6, 2022. He was also ordered to forfeit $55,000.
  • Devin McEwin, 43, of Avery - A former RRAD official, McEwin pleaded guilty May 27, 2021 to receiving bribes from Harrison and was sentenced to five years of federal probation, including eight months of home confinement. He was ordered to forfeit $18,000.
  • Louis Singleton, 64, of Texarkana - A former RRAD official, Singleton pleaded guilty on April 27, 2022 to receiving bribes from Harrison and others and was sentenced to five years of federal probation, including eight months of home confinement. He was ordered to forfeit $18,000.
  • Jimmy Scarbrough, 69, of Hooks - Hooks pleaded guilty on Aug. 22, 2022 to conspiring with Harrison, Bishop, and others to defraud the U.S. government, commit theft of government property, and commit bribery. Scarbrough agreed to forfeit his 1951 Ford F-1 pickup truck and an amount of money to be determined by the court. Scarbrough faces up to five years in prison; he awaits sentencing.

“The Red River Army Depot is a key component of our nation’s defense infrastructure and is the lifeblood of the surrounding community,” said Featherston. “Scarbrough, Harrison, Bishop, McEwin, Singleton, 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 info presented at court, Scarbrough was the equipment mechanic supervisor at the RRAD in Texarkana, Texas; he held that position from November of 2001 until May of 2019. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) says Scarbrough directed more than $7 million in purchases from RRAD to Harrison and Bishop through the government purchase card (GPC) program. Scarbrough told vendors what to bid in order to manipulate the program. By collecting fake bids from vendors, Scarbrough was able to direct RRAD purchases to his select vendors (Harrison and Bishop), while maintaining the appearance of a competitive bidding process.

“These sentences are a direct reflection of the tenacity and teamwork by MPFU special agents and our law enforcement partners,” said SA Scott Moreland, special agent-in-charge of the Major Procurement Fraud Field Office (MPFFO), 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.”

The DOJ says Scarbrough demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from his vendors and accepted those bribes in various forms, including receiving at least $116,000 in USPS money orders from Harrison. Scarbrough also directed Harrison and Bishop to buy at least $135,000 worth of car parts/services for his personal hot rod collection, which included a black and red 1936 Ford Tudor, an electric green 1932 Ford Coupe, a cherry red 1951 Ford F-1 truck, and others. Scarbrough also got more than $27,000 worth of firearms from Bishop, including rare Colt handguns and Wurfflein dueling pistols. Scarbrough also directed at least $32,000 in donations to the Hooks Volunteer Fire Department while he was serving as the captain of operations. The DOJ says in total, Scarbrough received more than $300,000 in bribes from Harrison and Bishop.

“Today’s announcement highlights a successful collaboration among partner agencies as we collectively hold these defendants accountable for allegedly creating a fraudulent and deceptive scheme against the government and the people of the United States. We remain committed to the aggressive pursuit of those who selfishly leverage government programs for their own personal gain,” said Dallas FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Matthew J. DeSarno.

The DOJ says Scarbrough isn’t the only RRAD official to have accepted bribes. McEwin accepted 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. Singleton also accepted more than $18,000 in bribes from Harrison and others, including tickets to the Hall of Fame section of AT&T Stadium for a football game between the Cowboys and the Patriots. Singleton was the supervisor of the GPC program at the RRAD and was responsible for approving purchases requested by Scarbrough.