A contractor has pled guilty in a years-long conspiracy at the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) to award construction contracts to certain firms. A contract manager at CalTrans was also involved in the scheme.

From a DOJ release:

According to a plea agreement filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento, William D. Opp engaged in a conspiracy, from early 2015 through at least as late as August 2018, to thwart the competitive bidding process for Caltrans contracts to ensure that companies controlled by co-conspirators or himself submitted the winning bid and would be awarded the contract. As part of the conspiracy, Opp formed a separate construction company, with his wife as the nominal president, to submit sham bids on Caltrans contracts.

“Today’s guilty plea involves crimes affecting industries that receive significant federal funding for infrastructure and transportation,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “The Antitrust Division and its Procurement Collusion Strike Force are redoubling efforts to enforce the law against bid-rigging and fraud that steals taxpayer dollars.”

Opp also pleaded guilty to paying bribes to Choon Foo “Keith” Yong, a former contract manager for Caltrans, a California state agency that receives significant federal funding. On April 11, 2022, Yong pleaded guilty to his role in the bid-rigging and bribery scheme. According to Yong’s plea agreement, he received bribes in the form of cash payments, wine, furniture, and remodeling services on his home. The total value of the payments and benefits Yong received exceeded $800,000.