Bowie resident Patrick Ricker has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for his part in former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson’s extensive Greenbelt Station corruption and bribery scheme, according to The Washington Post.
Ricker, 53, is charged with “conspiring to provide gifts and services to public officials in exchange for favorable official action, and for tax evasion,” according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland. He also was ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution.
Through his business, Ricker Brothers Inc., Ricker and co-conspirators used a variety of methods of bribery to obtain approvals for Greenbelt Station, a mixed-used project near the Greenbelt Metro Station, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
The DOJ said Ricker, a real estate broker, and his co-conspirators “regularly provided” things like meals, trip expenses, drinks, airline tickets, sexual services, campaign contributions and money to get approval for the Greenbelt Station site plan and to get the project listed as a top priority for the State Highway Administration.
“Conspiring to defraud the government in a decade long extortion scheme and under reporting taxable income is reckless. Today’s sentence is an important victory for America’s taxpayers who play by the rules and have no tolerance for those who shirk their tax responsibilities,” said Rick Raven, the IRS agent in charge of the investigation.
Officials failed to report items and money received from Ricker, or intentionally underreported their value, and Ricker concealed donations that were above state and federal limits by recruiting others to give to campaigns on his behalf, according to the DOJ.
Additionally, state and local officials helped Ricker and his co-conspirators acquire property from Prince George’s County to be developed into single family homes by Day Homes, and voted on County Council resolutions to further help this development, states the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Ricker also was guilty of underreporting his taxable income by more than $1 million to avoid paying income taxes.
One of Ricker co-conspirators, former Prince George’s County Fire Department official Karl Granzow, of Upper Marlboro, was sentenced last month to 18 months in jail for conspiracy to commit extortion and other charges related to the Greenbelt Station development.
According to The Washington Post, more than 15 people have now pleaded guilty to taking part in Johnson’s development schemes. Johnson and his wife, former County Council Member Leslie Johnson, are both serving jail time for conspiracy. Jack Johnson also pleaded guilty to extortion and witness evidence tampering.