Thursday, July 15, 2010

Corrupt BLM official sentenced to three years in federal prison

A former U.S. Bureau of Land Management official has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for schemes that cost the government nearly half a million dollars. U.S. District Judge Owen Panner on Monday ordered Luis Ramirez to repay the BLM the money he swindled while working as a contract administrator in the agency’s Medford office. Ramirez, 57, pleaded guilty last month to wire fraud, personal financial conflict of interest and making a false tax return statement. The government said Ramirez manipulated contracts, funneled subcontractor work to his son Evan and used a series of wire transactions to send money to himself. He used the proceeds for travel abroad, a condo in the Bahamas, the remodeling of his Medford home and a college education for his son. An anonymous tip to the FBI led to the unraveling of the crimes, the government said. As investigators closed in, Ramirez retired in July 2007 after 31 years with the agency...more

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