Former official, IT exec plead guilty to bribery, extortion • The Register

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A previous Maryland Cupboard-level official and a previous IT govt have pleaded responsible to involvement in a bribery and extortion plan linked to technology contracts about a ten years back.

In accordance to the US Attorney’s Office environment of the Condition of Maryland, Isabel FitzGerald, 52, of Annapolis, Maryland, and Kenneth Coffland, 67, of Riva, Maryland, pleaded guilty last 7 days to rates of bribery and extortion, respectively. They ended up indicted in 2017.

From 2009 by September 2011, Coffland labored [PDF] at ACS, which held a $129 million IT hosting agreement and $229 million programs deal with the State of Maryland Office of Human Resources (DHR). ACS, acquired by Xerox in 2010, managed the datacenter that hosted DHR programs for administering welfare added benefits under federal and state plans.

During that time, Coffland developed a operating marriage with FitzGerald, then DHR’s CIO and the human being dependable for overseeing the web hosting and applications contracts. By 2010, the relationship had come to be individual, according to court docket documents.

FitzGerald involving 2007 and 2014 held a quantity of condition positions, together with as nicely as DHR CIO, govt specialist to the DHR Secretary, DHR Deputy Secretary of Functions, and the Secretary of the Office of Information and facts Technologies in the Cupboard of then-Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

FitzGerald resigned from DHR as of October 2011 but from December 2011 right until about a 12 months afterwards, she served as a advisor to her successor at DHR.

Coffland resigned from ACS/Xerox in September 2011 right after FitzGerald had offered observe that she meant to step down. Times just after his resignation, Coffland started off work for a second enterprise that was responsible for examining ACS/Xerox’s deal and for reporting this information and facts to DHR – whilst FitzGerald was consulting for DHR.

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By December 2012, FitzGerald had rejoined DHR – she was appointed Deputy Secretary for Functions of DHR and reported to the DHR Secretary.

In accordance to Coffland’s plea agreement [PDF], FitzGerald in early 2013 inspired her successor as DHR CIO to inform ACS/Xerox to remove the particular person serving as internet hosting director. She then met ACS/Xerox’s program manager about ostensibly problematic functionality with regard to the internet hosting agreement.

She indicated she would not renew the firm’s point out contract following it expired in 2014 except it dealt with the problems she cited. But she proposed if the corporation rehired Coffland as hosting director, he would be in a position to correct the cited troubles and that would guide to the renewal of the state agreement.

ACS/Xerox did not want to do so, in accordance to the plea settlement, for the reason that it believed Coffland, for the reason that of his particular marriage with Fitzgerald, would not reasonably depict the firm’s passions when working with the point out. Nonetheless, the business did give to rehire him.

Coffland, knowledgeable of FitzGerald’s negotiations prior to acquiring the employing offer you, experienced leverage and countered the company’s initial offer you with a desire for considerably much more revenue and a placement as an independent contractor fairly than employee.

The organization, regardless of its reservations, agreed to pay out Coffland at a price of $125 for every hour for up to 2,400 several hours on a yearly basis, a likely salary of $300,000, furthermore quarterly bonuses of up to $50,000, or $200,000 every year.

Court docket filings also describe how FitzGerald conspired with staff of an Indiana-dependent IT company to threaten the cancellation of a $27.6 million DHR undertaking if the point out failed to subcontract a part of the work by means of the Indiana firm. From this, FitzGerald obtained paid out a portion of the offer via a enterprise she fashioned, Aeon Consulting and Specialized Services. As element of her guilty plea, FitzGerald have to spend $38,310 in restitution.

FitzGerald faces up to 10 several years in federal jail for bribery involving an agent performing on behalf of a system acquiring federal money. Coffland could obtain as much as 20 decades for extortion. Sentencing for both of those is scheduled for Oct 13, 2022. ®

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