(News release) Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Michael DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Marlies T. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, have announced the sentencing of defendant Ron Capobianco, Jr., 40, of Pompano Beach, FL, on charges of bribery in connection with programs receiving federal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666. U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. sentenced Capobianco to 12 months plus one day in prison.
According to documents previously filed with the court, Capobianco, Jr. worked as a construction engineering and inspection consultant at Metric Engineering, Inc. (Metric), which specialized in the transportation industry. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) contracted with Metric to provide services, including designing, inspecting, and troubleshooting the construction of roads, signs, and traffic signals. Capobianco, Jr. was assigned as the FDOT District 4 signalization and lighting liaison. In this capacity, he acted as FDOT’s project manager for various signalization and lighting projects. Capobianco, Jr. had a team of employees that assisted him in supervising and inspecting contractors performing FDOT work. Because of his position and expertise, Capobianco, Jr. was consulted as an FDOT expert on certain aspects of signalization and lighting construction, including the use of video detection cameras for traffic signalization and control.
According to the documents previously filed with the court, around 2009, FDOT began a road construction project along Highway 1 in the Florida Keys (the Marathon Key project), which was designed to improve traffic flow. Capobianco Jr. agreed to accept a bribe from a subcontractor working on this project. Around May 2009, an agent of the subcontractor offered to pay a bribe to Capobianco, Jr., if the subcontractor could receive at least $25,000 for the installation of the video detection equipment.
Capobianco, Jr. agreed to the subcontractor’s $25,000 estimate for the installation of the video detection devices, thus enabling the subcontractor to make a significant profit. The subcontractor’s estimate was approved and subsequently paid by the State of Florida after the installation of the video detection equipment. Thereafter, Capobianco, Jr. met with an agent of the subcontractor in Plantation, Florida and was paid $4,000 in cash for his assistance to the subcontractor on the Marathon Key project.
Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, IRS-CI, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, in connection with the investigation of this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey N. Kaplan.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.