Federal employee pleads guilty in bribery case

Scenes from outside the United States Office of Personnel Management in Washington, DC on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Sarah Silbiger | The Washington Post | Getty Images

A former employee of the United States Personnel Management Office pleaded guilty in Washington, DC, federal court on Friday to direct more than $10 million in OPM contracts for companies associated with her or her husband for 12 years, authorities said.

Former OPM employee Sheron Spann, 54, is due to be sentenced on September 21.

Spann pleaded guilty to one count of taking action affecting a personal financial interest. The maximum sentence for the charge is five years, but the recommended sentence is zero to six months.

Spann admitted during her plea hearing on Friday that as early as 2011 she began running OPM “information technology contracts with companies under the control of Spann and her husband without disclosing the nature or the extent of its relationship with the companies,” the U.S. district attorney’s office said. of Columbia said in a press release.

Spann, who started working in OPM’s contracts office in 2007, is married to Thomas Spann III. Her husband is the co-founder of a company named Enlightened Inc. He had also worked for another company called LogApps, according to court records.

When Enlightened was incorporated in Maryland and Washington in 1997, Sheron Spann signed documents as a witness for its articles of incorporation, documents show.

A court filing indicates that in August 2011, Sheron Spann used his government email address to propose to a representative of OPM’s contracts office that OPM invite Enlightened to bid on a contract to develop software used to manage background investigations of federal employees and contractors.

Enlightened won that contract, which had a funding cap of $4.5 million, with Sheron Spann serving as OPM’s point of contact for the deal, according to the court filing.

Work under that contract ended up exceeding the original funding cap, “to exceed $25 million,” according to the filing.

Enlightened won a $1.5 million contract from OPM in April 2017 without having to compete with other bidders, according to the filing.

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Five months later, OPM awarded Enlightened another contract that ended up earning the company more than $7.35 million, according to the filing.

“At the same time that S. Spann oversaw OPM’s contracts with Enlightened, S. Spann derived personal financial benefit from Enlightened through an Enlightened intermediary company used as one of his sub-contractors, Tier 1 LLC,” the folder says.

Financial records showed Enlightened paid Tier 1 LLC nearly $736,000 from March 2012 to April 2017.

The documents also show that Enlightened Tier 1 funds made “payments for accounts that benefit both S. Spann and T. Spann, including an American Express account, and vehicle payments” to three lenders.

Sheron Spann’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CNBC has also reached out to Enlightened for comment.


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