January 31, 2018
New Jersey Business Owners Sentenced to Prison for Attempted Bribery of DBE Official
On January 30 and January 31, 2018, Nazik Modawi and Abboud Wali, owners of Safe Rides, LLC, were sentenced in U.S. District Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for conspiring to bribe a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) specialist. Modawi was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day incarceration and 2 years’ supervised release. Wali was sentenced to 6 months’ incarceration and 2 years’ supervised release. Both defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges in October 2017.
Modawi and Wali admitted that between November 2016 and December 2016 they conspired to corruptly give and offer a thing of value to an agent of SEPTA intending to influence and reward the agent in connection with a business transaction. Specifically, Modawi gave a DBE specialist an envelope containing $5,000 in cash for the purpose of expediting the DBE application process for Safe Rides, LLC. Furthermore, both Modawi and Wali provided a second envelope containing $5,000 in cash to a person they believed to be a DBE specialist for the purpose of expediting the DBE application a second time. The investigation was based on a referral from SEPTA, one of the five certifying agencies of the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the FBI and SEPTA-OIG.