HOUSTON – The previous administrative and neighborhood outreach coordinator for the Houston Well being Division (HHD) has pleaded responsible to bribery, introduced U.S. Legal professional Jennifer B. Lowery together with Assistant Legal professional Common Kenneth Well mannered Jr. of the Division of Justice’s (DOJ) Prison Division.
Barry Barnes, 62, accepted bribes from three companies in change for influencing the number of every to carry out providers for the HHD.
“This workplace has an unyielding dedication to assault public corruption at any degree. The individuals of the Southern District of Texas deserve an setting by which public officers are held to the very best requirements,” stated Lowery. “This prosecution ought to ship a transparent message that we are going to discover and maintain accountable any public official who abuses the general public belief.”
From November 2019 till March 2021, Barnes engaged in a kickback scheme with a enterprise proprietor and abused his place with the HHD to facilitate the number of the enterprise underneath the emergency buy order course of. Barnes subsequently submitted invoices to make sure this particular person was paid for six profitable advertising and marketing, promoting and media contracts, together with three service contracts associated to the COVID-19 international pandemic that federal COVID-19 reduction funded. In change, Barnes obtained a number of money funds from January 2020 to February 2021.
As a part of his plea settlement, Barnes acknowledged that in December 2020, he chosen one other enterprise proprietor to carry out promoting providers for the HHD. In return, Barnes obtained a portion of the funds. Barnes once more engaged in the identical scheme in January 2021 with one more enterprise. He obtained a kickback for aiding that enterprise proprietor in acquiring a disbursement from the Metropolis of Houston for commercial providers carried out for the HHD.
Barnes pleaded responsible to bribery regarding applications receiving federal funds and faces as much as 10 years in jail and a $250,000 most potential high quality. U.S. District Choose Sim Lake will impose sentencing Jan. 26, 2023.
He was permitted to stay on bond pending that listening to.
The FBI – Houston Area Workplace performed the investigation. Assistant U.S. Legal professional Sebastian A. Edwards and Trial Legal professional Demetrius Sumner of DOJ’s Public Integrity Part are prosecuting the case.