Houston Health Department official accepted bribes from companies
HUSTON – A Houston metropolis official pleaded responsible to bribery on Thursday.
Barry Barnes, 66, was the previous administrative and group outreach coordinator for the Houston Health Department (HHD). Records say he pleaded responsible to accepting bribes from three companies in trade for selecting the corporate to carry out work for HHD.
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“This office has an unwavering commitment to attacking public corruption at every level. The people of the Southern District of Texas deserve an environment in which public officials are held to the highest standards,” mentioned US Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery. “This prosecutor must send a clear message that we will find and hold accountable any public official who abuses public trust.
According to investigators, from November 2019 to March 2021, Barnes was involved in a bribery scheme with a business owner. He used his position at HHD to select business under the rush purchase order process.
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Records say Barnes submitted invoices to ensure the business person was paid for six lucrative marketing, advertising and media contracts. This included three pandemic-related service contracts that federal COVID-19 aid funded.
In return, he received cash payments from January 2020 to February 2021.
In his plea agreement, Barnes admitted in December 2020 that he chose another business owner for advertising services for HHD. In return he received a share of the funds.
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Officials say he did the same scheme again in January 2021 for another business, where he took a bribe to help the business owner get a disbursement from the City of Houston for advertising services performed for HHD.
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Mary Benton, Director of Communications for the Office of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said, “Mr. Barnes is now not affiliated with the City of Houston. It is the duty of each worker to comply with insurance policies and procedures and abide by the regulation.”
Barnes pleaded responsible to bribery in reference to packages that obtain federal funds and will resist 10 years in jail with a potential most wonderful of $250,000. U.S. District Judge Sim Lake will impose the sentence on January 26, 2023.
He was allowed to stay on bond pending that listening to. The FBI – Houston Field Office carried out the investigation.