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Ex-Ventura County Naval Base Worker Sentenced to More Than 5 Years for $1.2 Million in Kickbacks

An Oxnard man who worked at Naval Base Ventura County as a contract official has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for a massive bribery scheme that netted $1.2 million in illegal kickbacks, authorities said Monday.

Fernando Barroso Sr. conspired with Theodore Bauer, a Ventura County businessman, to fraudulently collect hundreds of thousands in kickbacks through a bribery scheme spanning several years, according to federal prosecutors.

Barroso, 69, admitted to defrauding the U.S., submitting false claims for payment and accepting bribes as part of a plea agreement. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of subscribing to a false federal income tax return in March.

He was sentenced to 70 months in prison, federal prosecutors said, and must pay $1,077,718 in restitution to the U.S. Navy and Internal Revenue Service.

For 22 years, Barroso approved material purchases, service contracts, vendors and payments to vendors while working as the master scheduler for the Public Works Department at the military base, which oversees Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island, according to prosecutors. Bauer, meanwhile, operated three companies that received contracts from the Navy.

Through an arrangement reached in 2008, prosecutors said, Barroso would issue and approve work orders and purchase orders for Bauer’s companies.

“Bauer submitted false invoices on behalf of his companies, and Barroso approved invoices and payments to Bauer’s companies — even though work was not being performed,” the Department of Justice states in a news release.

Bauer would then give Barroso 50% of all money generated by the scam.

He primarily paid Barroso in cash before Sept. 13, 2011, and had paid out about $375,000 by that time, prosecutors said. But a day later, Bauer began paying the kickbacks by issuing checks to F. Barroso & Sons — a corporation Barroso created.

Then, in December 2013, Barroso purchased a majority stake in a maintenance company, prosecutors said. Bauer also paid kickbacks through checks written to that company.

Kickbacks that Bauer paid to Barroso in the form of checks alone amounted to $846,100, according to prosecutors.

Authorities said Bauer pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery last year and will be sentenced on July 22.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors said, Barroso admitted to violating government procurement regulations and conflict-of-interest laws by approving contract payments to a maintenance company he controlled.

He also admitted some of the invoices from his maintenance company were “simply fraudulent,” officials state in the DOJ news release.

Barroso’s additional conviction for subscribing to a false federal income tax return was a result of his failure to report $95,200 he received in kickbacks on his 2011 tax return. Federal prosecutors said he also claimed fraudulent tax deductions amounting to $331,225 on his 2012 tax returns.

As a result of this fraud, the U.S. government lost about $105,039 in taxes, according to federal prosecutors.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the length of Barroso’s prison sentence. The post has since been updated.

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