December 8, 2022

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

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A former Maryland Cabinet-degree official and a previous IT executive have pleaded responsible to involvement in a bribery and extortion plan connected to know-how contracts about a ten years in the past.

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 week to expenses of bribery and extortion, respectively. They ended up indicted in 2017.

From 2009 as a result of September 2011, Coffland labored [PDF] at ACS, which held a $129 million IT internet hosting deal and $229 million purposes agreement with the Condition of Maryland Section of Human Resources (DHR). ACS, acquired by Xerox in 2010, managed the datacenter that hosted DHR programs for administering welfare positive aspects underneath federal and point out applications.

In the course of that time, Coffland produced a functioning romance with FitzGerald, then DHR’s CIO and the particular person responsible for overseeing the hosting and programs contracts. By 2010, the romantic relationship had develop into personal, according to court docket paperwork.

FitzGerald between 2007 and 2014 held a quantity of condition positions, which include as perfectly as DHR CIO, executive specialist to the DHR Secretary, DHR Deputy Secretary of Operations, and the Secretary of the Department of Details Technological innovation in the Cupboard of then-Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

FitzGerald resigned from DHR as of October 2011 but from December 2011 till about a calendar year later on, she served as a consultant to her successor at DHR.

Coffland resigned from ACS/Xerox in September 2011 just after FitzGerald experienced offered discover that she supposed to step down. Days immediately after his resignation, Coffland started perform for a second enterprise that was accountable for reviewing ACS/Xerox’s deal and for reporting this info to DHR – even though FitzGerald was consulting for DHR.

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

In accordance to Coffland’s plea settlement [PDF], FitzGerald in early 2013 encouraged her successor as DHR CIO to tell ACS/Xerox to clear away the man or woman serving as internet hosting director. She then met ACS/Xerox’s plan supervisor about ostensibly problematic performance with regard to the web hosting deal.

She indicated she would not renew the company’s point out deal following it expired in 2014 except it addressed the troubles she cited. But she instructed if the firm rehired Coffland as web hosting director, he would be ready to deal with the cited difficulties and that would guide to the renewal of the condition contract.

ACS/Xerox did not want to do so, according to the plea agreement, because it considered Coffland, for the reason that of his personalized romance with Fitzgerald, would not rather stand for the firm’s interests when working with the state. However, the business enterprise did give to rehire him.

Coffland, knowledgeable of FitzGerald’s negotiations prior to getting the choosing present, experienced leverage and countered the firm’s initial supply with a demand from customers for considerably a lot more funds and a place as an independent contractor alternatively than staff.

The corporation, irrespective of its reservations, agreed to fork out Coffland at a level of $125 for every hour for up to 2,400 hours every year, a potential wage of $300,000, furthermore quarterly bonuses of up to $50,000, or $200,000 every year.

Court filings also explain how FitzGerald conspired with workforce of an Indiana-based IT agency to threaten the cancellation of a $27.6 million DHR challenge if the state failed to subcontract a part of the perform by means of the Indiana company. From this, FitzGerald received compensated a part of the deal through a company she shaped, Aeon Consulting and Specialized Services. As aspect of her guilty plea, FitzGerald have to fork out $38,310 in restitution.

FitzGerald faces up to 10 a long time in federal prison for bribery involving an agent performing on behalf of a method obtaining federal money. Coffland could receive as much as 20 many years for extortion. Sentencing for equally is scheduled for October 13, 2022. ®

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