Former BBG Contracting Officer Diane D. Sturgis Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and Honest Services Wire Fraud
(STL.News) – A former contracting officer with the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) (now known as the U.S. Agency for Global Media) pleaded guilty today to conspiring to engage in a bribery scheme.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Agent in Charge Marc Meyer of the U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General and Assistant Director in Charge Timothy R. Slater of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
Diane D. Sturgis, 61, of Glassboro, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States through bribery and wire fraud before U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady of the Eastern District of Virginia. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 17.
According to court documents, Sturgis served as a contracting officer for the BBG’s International Broadcast Bureau, Office of Contracts until September 2017. Sturgis, among other things, supervised several contracts awarded to a Virginia information technology and data management firm, including a blanket purchase agreement. In September 2014, the BBG and the Department of Defense used the firm’s blanket purchase agreement to issue a task order that subsequently served as a vehicle for procuring millions of dollars in services from the firm. In November 2014, Sturgis and the firm’s owner used the same task order to fill several contracting positions in Sturgis’ office in exchange for initial payments totaling at least $330,000. Sturgis and the firm’s owner agreed that the firm would nominally hire Sturgis’ relative to fill one of these positions in exchange for preferential treatment and the performance of official acts benefitting the firm.
Between December 2014 and June 2015, the firm issued four payments to Sturgis’ relative totaling $30,000. The relative performed no consulting work in exchange for these payments; instead, Sturgis prepared the periodic consulting reports and accompanying invoices for the relative and instructed the relative to save the periodic reports and invoices on the relative’s computer and then submit the invoices for payment. The firm sought approval for payments from the BBG, which Sturgis authorized and approved.
The Department of State, Office of Inspector General and the FBI investigated the case. Trial Attorney Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section is prosecuting the case.