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Former Air Force Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribery Scheme

Updated: Nov 10, 2023


A former U.S. Air Force (USAF) contractor pleaded guilty today to engaging in a bribery scheme relating to a large technology contract awarded by the USAF.


According to court documents, from late 2013 to late 2019, Juan Carlos Arevalo III, 44, of Occoquan, Virginia, served as the chief technologies officer and senior technical consultant for a USAF component that focuses on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and innovation. Arevalo worked closely with senior USAF officials in the Pentagon and helped them to design, develop, and deliver various military technologies.


Julio R. “Jace” Sotomayor was a retired USAF colonel who was the owner of two consulting firms – Eagle Market Group (EMG) and Federal Security Agency (FSA) – and the minority owner of a government contracting firm. As alleged, beginning in late 2013, Sotomayor and the contracting firm’s majority owner sought to provide services to the USAF to support various technology projects and initiatives. As part of this objective, Arevalo and Sotomayor agreed to engage in a corrupt, multi-year scheme in which Sotomayor, through EMG, paid $185,000 to Arevalo using his relative as a pass-through intermediary. In exchange for these payments, Arevalo agreed to perform and did perform official acts, and sought to influence other officials, to benefit Sotomayor, the firm, and the firm’s majority owner.


Beginning in late 2014, Sotomayor also engaged in a similar pass-through bribery scheme with a former federal contracting officer, Diane Sturgis, by using EMG to pay $150,000 to Sturgis’s relative in exchange for official assistance regarding the same USAF technology contract. Through early 2020, the firm had received approximately $51.6 million from the USAF of which at least $5.9 million was paid to Sotomayor.


Arevalo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 13 and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.


Sotomayor and Sturgis have pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their various schemes.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the FBI Washington Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Elisabeth Kaminsky of the Department of State Office of Inspector General (State OIG) made the announcement.


The FBI and State OIG investigated the case.


Senior Litigation Counsel Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section is prosecuting the case.

 

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