The boss of an IT services provider bribed a top Detroit city official to win lucrative contracts for his biz, prosecutors in the US have claimed.
Parimal "Perry" Mehta, 54, of Northville, Michigan, was charged this week with eleven counts including bribery and wire fraud for a series of payments he was said to have made to Charles Dodd, who at the time was the director of Detroit’s Office of Departmental Technology Services.
In 2016, Dodd pleaded guilty to bribery charges, admitting he received just under $30,000 from IT contractors looking to work with the city government.
According to prosecution documents filed in a Michigan district court on Tuesday, between 2009 and 2016, Mehta, as CEO of FutureNet Group, bunged Dodd cash to secure $7.5m in tech supply contracts with the city.
The payments, according to the US Department of Justice, often were made in $500 or $400 sums directly from Mehta to Dodd while they were in the restroom of various Detroit restaurants (potentially giving new meaning to the term "shake on it.") The pair met in the eateries to discuss business, it is claimed.
In addition to handing over the alleged envelopes stuffed with dollar bills, Mehta is also accused of buying Dodd's favor with a bottle of cognac, and giving his wife and two stepchildren jobs at FutureNet.
Among the deals the city awarded to FutureNet during that time were a $2.8m Accela software implementation project and further multi-million-dollar agreements to expand and support the system. Accela was used to manage building safety inspections and permits for Detroit.
"On a regular basis, Dodd directed lucrative city business to FutureNet, including by approving the selection of FutureNet to provide numerous contract employees to perform work for Detroit, and by advising other city officials to select FutureNet to provide such contract employees," the complaint reads.
"Detroit paid FutureNet up to approximately $94 per hour for the services of such contract employees, much or which was retained by FutureNet as profit."
Mehta faces five counts of Honest Services Mail and Wire Fraud, one count of Federal Program Bribery, and five counts of violating the US Travel Act. ®