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FAA Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribing Former FAA Employee

On February 6, 2008, Maria Lianidis, president of Digital Management Systems, Inc. (DMS)-a computer engineering company based in Absecon, New Jersey-pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Trenton, New Jersey, to bribing Darrell K. Woods, a former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) program manager. Ms. Lianidis specifically pleaded guilty to 3 counts of a 26 count indictment, acknowledging that on 3 instances in 2003 she paid Mr. Woods more than $23,000 in cash bribes.

Mr. Woods, in his role as a program manager, steered approximately $6.7 million in contracts and purchase orders to DMS. Bribes paid by Ms. Lianidis influenced Mr. Woods in the performance of his official duties, as he allowed her to participate in the creation of FAA contract solicitations that DMS ultimately bid on and won. Mr. Woods also steered several sole-source contracts to DMS. DMS was bidding on a solicitation valued in excess of $34 million when DOT/OIG and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) executed search warrants in February 2005. The solicitation was ultimately canceled.

Mr. Woods pleaded guilty in June 2007 to wire fraud and money laundering for his role in the bribery and contract-steering scheme; he is awaiting sentencing. FAA has suspended Ms. Lianidis and DMS from government contracting. Forfeiture of the criminal proceeds derived from the scheme will be determined when Ms. Lianidis is sentenced. The case was investigated by DOT/OIG and IRS/Criminal Investigation Division, with the assistance of FAA.