COURT NEWS: State Department Contracting Officer Zaldy Sabino Convicted of Bribery and Procurement Fraud

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COURT NEWS: State Department Contracting Officer Zaldy Sabino Convicted of Bribery and Procurement Fraud

A contracting officer with the U.S. Department of State was convicted today of conspiracy, bribery, honest services wire fraud and making false statements.

Zaldy N. Sabino, 60, of Fort Washington, Maryland, was convicted of 13 counts of conspiracy, bribery, honest services wire fraud and making false statements.  Sentencing has been set for Feb. 14, 2020.

Sabino was indicted in April 2019. 

According to the indictment, between November 2012 and early 2017, Sabino and the owner of a Turkish construction firm

  • allegedly engaged in a bribery and procurement fraud scheme in which Sabino received at least $239,300 in cash payments from the Turkish owner while Sabino supervised multi-million dollar construction contracts awarded to the Turkish owner’s business partners and while Sabino made over a half-million dollars in structured cash deposits into his personal bank accounts. 
  • Sabino allegedly concealed his unlawful relationship by, among other things, making false statements on financial disclosure forms and during his background reinvestigation.

Sabino and the owner of a Turkish construction firm allegedly engaged in a bribery and procurement fraud scheme in which Sabino received at least $239,300 in cash payments from the Turkish owner while Sabino supervised multi-million dollar construction contracts awarded to the Turkish owner’s business partners

The Department of State’s Office of Inspector General, led by Steve A. Linick, and the FBI’s Washington Field Office investigated the case.  Trial Attorney Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Hanly of the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case. 

the defendant, ZALDY N. SABINO, PERSON A, and others known and unknown, did knowingly and unlawfully combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other: a. To engage in bribery, that is to, i. directly and indirectly, knowingly and corruptly give, offer, and promise anything of value to a public official and to any other person and entity, with intent to influence an official act, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(1); and ii. being a public official, directly and indirectly, knowingly and corruptly demand, seek, receive, accept, and agree to receive and accept anything of value personally and for any other person and entity, in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act

9. Between in or about November 2012 and in or about September 2015, PERSON A and associates made wire transfers from foreign bank accounts associated with, or maintained by, PERSON A, COMPANY A, and other business partners, to two Bank of America (“BOA”) accounts maintained by PERSON A at a BOA branch located in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building in Arlington, Virginia. PERSON A opened the first BOA account on or about April 21, 2006, and the second BOA account on or about November 13, 2012. PERSON A, who was the only signatory and authorized user on both BOA accounts, closed these accounts on or about September 29, 2015. –

On or about the dates listed below, the DOS awarded the following contract and task orders to COMPANY A and its respective business partners:

COUNT 1 (Conspiracy) 10. The allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 -9 are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein. 11. Beginning no later than in or about November 2012, and continuing thereafter until at least in or about early 2017, in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere, the defendant, ZALDY N. SABINO, PERSON A, and others known and unknown, did knowingly and unlawfully combine, conspire, confederate, and agree together and with each other:

a. To engage in bribery, that is to, i. directly and indirectly, knowingly and corruptly give, offer, and promise anything of value to a public official and to any other person and entity, with intent to influence an official act, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(1); and ii. being a public official, directly and indirectly, knowingly and corruptly demand, seek, receive, accept, and agree to receive and accept anything of value personally and for any other person and entity, in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2); and

b. To devise and intend to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud and deprive the DOS and the citizens of the United States of their intangible right to the honest services of SABINO, a DOS contract specialist and contracting officer, through bribery, and to cause wire communications to be transmitted in interstate and foreign commerce for the purpose of executing such scheme, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1346. Purpose of the Conspiracy 12. The purpose of the conspiracy was: (a) to use SABINO’s official position as a DOS contract specialist and contracting officer to benefit and enrich SABINO, PERSON A, and COMPANY A through bribery; (b) to defraud the DOS and the citizens of the United States and deprive them of their intangible right to the honest services of SABINO, a DOS contracting officer and contract specialist; and

(c) to conceal the nature and purpose of the scheme and artifice to defraud. Manner and Means of the Conspiracy The conspiracy was carried out through the following manner and means, among others:

13. Between in or about November 2012 and in or about December 2016, PERSON A offered and gave, and SABESFO solicited and accepted from PERSON A, things of value, including cash payments, in exchange for official actions in the awarding, modifying, administering, and supervising of contracts and task orders awarded to COMPANY A and its business partners. SABESIO received the cash payments from PERSON A and by using an Automated Teller Machine (“ATM”) debit card linked to PERSON A’s second BOA account in the United States.

14. Between in or about November 2012 and in or about December 2016, SABINO deposited cash into bank accounts maintained by SABINO and his wife, and SABINO paid cash towards his credit card and line of credit accounts (hereafter collectively referred to as “cash deposits”). The cash deposits totaled approximately $507,543.93.

15. Between in or about November 2012 and in or about December 2013, SABINO received cash payments from PERSON A. SABINO made approximately $99,258.89 in cash deposits during this period.

16. Between in or about December 2013 and in or about July 2015, SABINO, using an ATM debit card linked to PERSON A’s second BOA accoimt, withdrew approximately $239,300 from the account through approximately 396 ATM transactions. The majority of these transactions occurred in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building in Arlington, Virginia and BOA branches located near SABINO’s residence in Fort Washington, Maryland.

17. Between in or about December 2013 and in or about July 2015, after funds in the second BOA account had been withdrawn and the account balance had been depleted, PERSON A replenished the second BOA account on a periodic basis by transferring money from the first BOA account and by making and causing others to make incoming wire transfers from foreign bank accounts to both BOA accounts.

18. Between in or about mid or late 2015 and in or about December 2016, SABINO received cash payments from PERSON A. SABINO made approximately $167,211 in cash deposits during this period.

19. During the four-year period when SABINO was receiving cash payments fi*om PERSON A, SABINO supervised, negotiated, administered, and made decisions and recommendations on DOS contracts and task orders awarded to COMPANY A and its business partners. SABINO routinely communicated and met with PERSON A and representatives of COMPANY A and COMPANY A’s business partners, and he signed, recommended, administered, authorized, and supervised numerous contract awards and contract modifications, which awarded millions of dollars to COMPANY A and its business partners. Overt Acts In furtherance of the conspiracy and to effect its objects, SABINO, PERSON A, and others committed the following overt acts, among others, in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere:

20. On or about November 13,2012, a few days after PERSON A had flown to the Eastern District of Virginia and stayed at a hotel in Arlington (and shortly after Company D’s senior management had met with SABINO in Arlington to negotiate and resolve approximately $40 million in requests for equitable adjustments (“REAs”) on the Yemen contract), PERSON A opened the second BOA account, and PERSON A also withdrew approximately $10,500 in cash from the first BOA account at a BOA branch located in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building.

21. On or about November 14, 2012, SABINO made a $ 10,000 cash deposit.

22. On or about January 23, 2013, after PERSON A had flown to the Eastern District of Virginia and stayed at a hotel in Arlington (on or about January 21-25, 2013), SABINO made a $15,000 cash deposit.

23. On or about February 6, 2013, after SABINO had assumed responsibility for the Baghdad power plant contract, PERSON A forwarded two earlier e-mail chains about the project to SABINO’s personal e-mail account. PERSON A stated in one of the e-mails: “Sir, This one is for info only… [COMPANY A] is my company and I am their consultant… :).”

24. Between on or about March 23, 2013 and on or about April 23, 2013, SABINO and PERSON A repeatedly communicated with each other by telephone and text messages. During this period, PERSON A was attempting to develop new business for COMPANY A, and Company D and PERSON A were communicating frequently with SABINO about Company D’s RE A negotiations for the Yemen contract.

25. On or about April 8, 2013, a few minutes after sending an e-mail and several attachments to Company D’s senior management relating to the outstanding REAs, SABINO forwarded the same attachments to PERSON A. –

26. On or about April 24, 2013, SABINO included COMPANY A on a list of Turkish companies that were deemed qualified to perform a contract to supply and install temporary hardened alternative trailer systems (“HATS”) at the U.S Consulate in Adana, Turkey.

27. Between on or about May 14, 2013, and on or about May 17, 2013, after SABINO and PERSON A had communicated by telephone, SABINO met with representatives of COMPANY A and its business partners in Adana, Turkey in connection with the Adana HATS contract.

28. On or about May 18, 2013, the day after returning from Turkey, SABINO made a $3,000 cash deposit.

29. Between on or about May 27, 2013, and on or about June 3, 2013, SABINO traveled to Ankara, Turkey where, among other things, he met with PERSON A and he met with senior management at Company D to negotiate and resolve the REAs.

30. On or about June 7, 2013, one day after meeting with PERSON A’s joint venture partners in Arlington to discuss the Baghdad power plant contract, SABINO signed a DOS letter authorizing a limited notice to proceed with the project.

31. Between on or about June 11, 2013, and on or about June 13, 2013, after PERSON A had flown to the Eastern District of Virginia and transferred approximately $120,000 to the first BOA account, PERSON A withdrew approximately $46,000 in cash through three counter withdrawals.

32. Between on or about June 17, 2013, and on or about September 6, 2013, SABINO made approximately $41,100 in cash deposits. During this period, PERSON A and COMPANY A’s business partners were meeting and communicating with SABINO regarding the Baghdad power plant project, the Adana HATS project, the Ankara campus pavilion project. SABINO also met with Company D’s representatives in Ankara to negotiate the outstanding REAs.

33. On or about July 10, 2013, SABINO signed a contract awarding approximately $4,895,675 to COMPANY A’s business partner for the Adana HATS project.

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34. On or about September 29,2013, a day after SABINO and PERSON A communicated by telephone, SABINO signed a findings and determinations letter to award the Ankara campus pavilion project to COMPANY A’s business partner. The amount awarded was approximately $3,834,544.

35. Between on or about November 12,2013 and on or about November 14, 2013, after PERSON A had flown to the Eastern District of Virginia and approximately $40,000 was transferred from COMPANY A’s foreign bank account to the first BOA account, PERSON A withdrew approximately $40,000 from the BOA account through six separate cash withdrawals.

36. Between on or about November 13, 2013, and on or about December 13, 2013, SABINO made five cash deposits totaling approximately $22,158.89.

37. Between on or about November 17, 2013, and on or about November 23, 2013, SABINO traveled to Istanbul, Adana, and Ankara, Turkey, where, among other things, he met with PERSON A and COMPANY A’s business partners in Ankara.

38. On or about December 28, 2013, while PERSON A was outside the United States, SABINO withdrew approximately $500 from PERSON A’s second BOA account using an ATM debit card at a BOA branch located near SABINO’s residence in Maryland.

39. On or about January 17, 2014, after PERSON A had flown to the Eastern District of Virginia, PERSON A transferred approximately $15,000 from PERSON A’s first BOA account to the second BOA account.

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40. Between on or about January 17, 2014, and on or about January 28, 2014, SABINO made cash deposits totaling approximately $12,850.

41. Between on or about January 24, 2014 and on or about April 11, 2014, while PERSON A was outside the United States, SABINO withdrew approximately $18,500 from PERSON A’s second BOA account through a series of $500 ATM transactions at BOA branches, which, with one exception, were located near SABINO’s residence in Maryland and in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building in Arlington.

42. On or about February 5, 2014, SABINO sent an e-mail to PERSON A’s business partners with a contract modification (M002) for the Baghdad power plant project, which added approximately $14,674,264.60 to the contract award.

43. On or about March 5, 2014, SABINO signed a full notice to proceed with the Baghdad power plant project.

44. On or about March 14, 2014, SABINO signed a contract modification (MOOl), which added approximately $74,966 to the Adana HATS project.

45. On or about March 31, 2014, while PERSON A was outside the United States and SABINO was traveling from Salt Lake City to Washington, D.C. (with a layover in Chicago), SABINO withdrew approximately $500 from PERSON A’s second BOA account at an ATM machine located in O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

46. On or about April 4, 2014, SABINO signed a contract modification (M002), which added approximately $2,960,000 to the Adana HATS project.

47. On or about April 11, 2014, PERSON A and COMPANY A transferred approximately $20,000 from a foreign bank account to PERSON A’s second BOA account.

48. Between on or about April 12, 2014 and on or about June 26, 2014, while PERSON A was outside the United States, SABINO withdrew approximately $19,000 from PERSON A’s second BOA account through a series of $700 and $800 ATM transactions (and one $500 transaction) at BOA branches located near SABINO’s residence in Maryland and in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building in Arlington.

49. On or about June 26, 2014, PERSON A and COMPANY A transferred approximately $40,000 from a foreign bank account to PERSON A’s second BOA account.

50. Between on or about June 27, 2014 and on or about October 15, 2014, while PERSON A was outside the United States, SABINO withdrew $40,000 from PERSON A’s second BOA account through a series of $800 ATM transactions at BOA branches located near SABINO’s residence in Maryland and in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building in Arlington.

51. On or about October 15, 2014, PERSON A and COMPANY A transferred $40,000 from a foreign bank account to PERSON A’s second BOA account. 52. Between on or about October 16, 2014 and on or about December 12, 2014, while PERSON A was outside the United States, SABINO withdrew approximately $23,200 from PERSON A’s second BOA account through a series of $800 ATM transactions at BOA branches located near SABINO’s residence in Maryland and in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building in Arlington.

53. On or about November 18, 2014, after PERSON A had flown to the Eastern District of Virginia and transferred $100,000 to the first BOA account, PERSON A withdrew $10,000 in cash.

54. On or about November 22, 2014, after PERSON A and SABE^O had communicated by telephone two days earlier, SABINO made $5,500 in cash deposits.

55. On or about December 3, 2014, SABINO signed a contract modification (M004), which added approximately $1,117,702.13 to the Baghdad power plant project.

56. On or about December 12, 2014, PERSON A and COMPANY A transferred approximately $45,000 from a foreign bank account to the second BOA account.

57. Between on or about December 13, 2014 and on or about January 26, 2015, while PERSON A was outside the United States, SABINO withdrew approximately $18,400 from PERSON A’s second BOA account through a series of $800 ATM transactions at BOA branches located near SABINO’s residence in Maryland and in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building in Arlington.

58. On or about January 26, 2015, PERSON A and COMPANY A transferred approximately $100,000 from a foreign bank account to the second BOA account.

59. Between on or about January 26,2015 and on or about June 11, 2015, while PERSON A was outside the United States, SABINO withdrew approximately $94,700 from PERSON A’s second BOA account through a series of $800 and $200 ATM transactions (and one $100 transaction) at BOA branches located near SABINO’s residence in Maryland and in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building in Arlington.

60. On or about March 10, 2015, SABINO signed a contract modification (M005), which added $1,842,948.09 to the Baghdad power plant project.

61. On or about March 11, 2015, SABINO withdrew $ 1,000 from the second BOA account by using a BOA ATM located in Waldorf, Maryland to make two transactions for $800 and $200.

62. On or about April 28, 2015, SABINO signed two contract modifications (M007 and MOOS), which added $5,640,000 and $7,939,164.80, respectively, to the Baghdad power plant project.

63. On or about April 28, 2015, after PERSON A had undergone and failed a security clearance investigation for the Baghdad power plant project, PERSON A requested an in-person meeting with SABINO and others at AQM.

64. On or about May 5, 2015, SABINO and PERSON A communicated by telephone.

65. Between on or about May 5, 2015, and on or about May 8, 2015, after PERSON A had traveled to the Eastern District of Virginia, PERSON A withdrew approximately $50,000 in cash from the first BOA account and withdrew $30,000 in cash from the second BOA account.

66. Between on or about May 9, 2015, and on or about June 19, 2015, SABINO made approximately $27,500 in cash deposits.

67. On or about June 11, 2015, PERSON A and COMPANY A transferred approximately $50,000 (minus wire transfer fees) from a foreign bank account to the second BOA account.

68. Between on or about June 12, 2015 and on or about July 22, 2015, while PERSON A was outside the United States, SABINO withdrew approximately $25,000 from PERSON A’s second BOA account through a series of $800 and $200 ATM transactions (and two transactions of $600 and $400) at BOA branches located near SABINO’s residence in Maryland and in the lobby of a DOS building near SABINO’s office building in Arlington.

69. On or about July 22, 2015, when SABINO learned that DOS investigators were scheduled to interview PERSON A regarding PERSON A’s security clearance problem, SABINO stopped making ATM withdrawals from the second BOA account.

70. Between on or about August 5, 2015, and on or about August 6, 2015, after PERSON A had flown to the Eastern District of Virginia, PERSON A withdrew approximately $30,000 in cash from the first BOA account and approximately $10,000 in cash from the second BOA account.

71. On or about August 6, 2015, SABINO made cash deposits totaling approximately $15,000.

72. Between on or about August 15, 2015, and on or about September 29, 2015, SABESTO made cash deposits totaling approximately $36,000.

73. On or about September 28, 2015, SABINO and PERSON A communicated by telephone shortly after SABINO received internal input on a letter informing PERSON A’s business partners that PERSON A’s security clearance for the Baghdad power plant project would not be reinstated.

74. On or about September 29,2015, PERSON A closed the BOA accounts. 75. Between on or about November 30, 2015, and on or about September 12, 2016, SABESIO made a series of cash deposits, totaling approximately $95,381.

76. On or about May 27, 2016, SABINO signed a contract modification (MOl 5), which added approximately $557,948 to the Baghdad power plant project.

77. On or about August 2, 2016, SABINO signed a contract modification (MOl6), which added approximately $3,800,361.06 to the Baghdad power plant project.

78. On or about August 5, 2016, SABINO signed a contract (task order) awarding approximately $4,885,900 to Company B to design-build the Marine Security Guard Residence at the U.S. Consulate in Basrah, Iraq.

79. On or about August 18, 2016, SABINO signed a contract modification (MODI), which added approximately $1,335,448.07 to the Erbil marine barracks project.

80. On or about October 15, 2016, SABINO made a series of cash deposits, totaling approximately $ 13,600.

81. On or about December 29,2016, SABINO made a $5,000 cash deposit.

82. On or about January 18, 2017, SABINO signed a notice to proceed on the Baghdad power plant project, and he signed a contract modification (M002), which added approximately $240,000 to the Erbil marine barracks project. (In violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371)

COUNT 2 (Bribery)

83. The allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-9 and 13-82 are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.

84. From in or about April 2014 until on or about July 22, 2015, in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere, the defendant, ZALDY N. SABINO, being a public official, directly and indirectly, knowingly and corruptly did demand, seek, receive, and accept, and agree to receive and accept anything of value personally—specifically a stream of cash payments from PERSON A—in return for SABINO being influenced in the performance of official acts, specifically a series of official acts relating to AQM and OBO procurements and contracts for the purpose of benefitting PERSON A and his business interests. (In violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 201(b)(2))

In 2017, Zaldy N. Sabino was a Contractor at the Department of State in Washington, District Of Columbia. began working at the Department of State in 2005 with a starting salary of $74,782. Since then, his salary has increased to $134,426 in 2017.

Zaldy N. Sabino is a GS-14 under the general schedule payscale.


YearOccupationPaygradeBase SalaryBonusLocation
2017ContractingGS-14$134,426$0Washington, District of Columbia
2016ContractingGS-14$130,666$0Washington, District of Columbia
2014ContractingGS-14$123,970$0Washington, District of Columbia
2013ContractingGS-14$119,238$0Washington, District of Columbia
2012ContractingGS-14$119,238$500Washington, District of Columbia
2011ContractingGS-14$115,731$0Washington, District of Columbia
2010ContractingGS-14$115,731$750Washington, District of Columbia
2009ContractingGS-14$109,570$0Washington, District of Columbia
2008ContractingGS-14$101,301$0Washington, District of Columbia
2007ContractingGS-14$93,822$0Washington, District of Columbia
2006ContractingGS-13$79,931$0Washington, District of Columbia
2005ContractingGS-13$74,782$0Washington, District of Columbia
FederalPay’s Employee Information Policy

Federal employees’ salaries are considered public information under 5 U.S.C. § 552, and in the interest of government transparency FederalPay publishes the salary information of all federal employees who earn more than $100,000 per year, or who are in the highest-paid 10% of their agency. This data is published unmodified, as provided by the OPM.

Zaldy N. Sabino‘s 2017 pay is 33% higher than the average Contractor across all agencies. Zaldy N. Sabino’s 2017 pay is 85% higher than the average pay of a GS employee at the Department of State.

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