Army official sold the public trust for a half-million dollars in bribes

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On October 24, 2014, In Seon Lim, a former contracting official for the U.S. Department of the Army, was sentenced to four years in prison by the Honorable Leonie M. Brinkema in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Lim, 48, of Fairfax Station, Virginia, pled guilty to three offenses in July 2014: conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud; bribery; and attempting to interfere with and impede tax laws.

Lim accepted more than $490,000 in benefits from companies, in exchange for helping them win favorable treatment and millions of dollars in federal government contracts. He is one of 18 individuals and one corporation, Nova Datacom, LLC, to plead guilty to federal charges in the largest domestic bribery and bid-rigging scheme in the history of federal contracting cases. Participants in the scheme stole over $30 million in government money through inflated and fictitious invoices.

Lim admitted that he used his official position to enrich himself by soliciting and accepting gifts, payments and other things of value from government contractors—totaling more than $490,000—in return for favorable official action. Lim received these bribes personally, as well as having them sent to accounts that he controlled. He received payments for travel, vacation, vehicles, cellphones and cellular service for himself and family members; ownership interests in two companies; golf clubs, female escorts and other types of bribes.

  • According to the statement of offense, two former employees of the Northern Virginia company Nova Datacom paid Lim $40,000 in cash in 2007;
  • Employees of Nova Datacom paid for Lim’s travel, lodging, meals and entertainment during a trip to the Philippines in 2007;
  • Employees of Nova Datacom paid for Lim’s lodging, $10,000 cash, and a $1,000 casino chip during his 2007 trip to Las Vegas;
  • Officials of Avenciatech, Inc., a government contractor based in Annandale, Virginia, provided Lim with cash payments;
  • Officials of Avenciatech, Inc. provided payments for hotel stays for Lim and family members, including a trip to the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas;
  • Officials of Avenciatech, Inc. provided payments to finance the purchase of a 2010 Lexus automobile, and payments for other things of value;
  • Officials of Avenciatech, Inc. assisted Lim in obtaining financing for the purchase of a home in Fairfax Station, Virginia, where Lim resided following his reassignment in 2010 to a position at Fort Belvoir.
  • Unisource Enterprise Inc. (UEI), based in Annandale, Virginia, had given Lim a secret 40 percent ownership in UEI.

The magnitude of corruption does not seem to be reflected in the disproportionately low sentence Lim received for his crimes. He was facing up to 23 years in prison for all three counts. Seven other counts of corruption were dismissed as part of Lim’s lenient plea deal.

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