Fredericksburg Man Sentenced for Accepting Bribes at VRE

Kevin Wirth Jannell was a VRE manager when he accepted more than $350,000 in bribes.

Fredericksburg resident Kevin Wirth Jannell, 49, was sentenced Friday to 24 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for taking more than $350,000 in bribes to ensure a Virginia Railway Express (VRE) subcontractor would be retained by VRE, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced.

In addition to the 24-month sentence, the court ordered Jannell to forfeit $357,000 and provide 100 hours of community service.

"Bribes should never be just another cost of doing business with the government," said Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. "Kevin Jannell abused his position by padding his paycheck each month and playing favorites in a contracting process that should be honest and transparent."

Jannell's wife, while working for VRE.  She faces a maximum of three years in prison when she is sentenced early this spring.

“Mr. Jannell held a position of trust in which he was expected to impartially oversee contracts for upkeep and maintenance of VRE facilities. Instead, he took money to improve his own standing and corrupted the contracting process,” Debra Evans Smith, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said in a press release.

“Government corruption at any level is the FBI’s top criminal priority, and the Washington Field Office continues to demonstrate that we will investigate and pursue all those who choose to use their official position for personal gain,” Smith said.

Jannell pleaded guilty on Sept. 27 to bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds. A former facilities manager for VRE, Jannell provided oversight of VRE contracts for individuals and companies providing landscaping and maintenance of VRE stations and facilities, according to the press release. Beginning in 2003, Jannell accepted monthly payments of up to $4,000 in return for giving favorable evaluations that would ensure an individual and this person’s company would be retained as a subcontractor for VRE.

Jannell concealed the bribes by creating a nominee company and sent monthly invoices to the subcontractor from that company, falsely billing the company for services that were never rendered.

Authorities request that anyone with information regarding this case or similar allegations of fraud or corruption to call the FBI’s Northern Virginia Public Corruption and Government Fraud tip line at 703-686-6225 or send an e-mail to nova.corruption@ic.fbi.gov.

Related Stories:

Fredericksburg Resident Pleads Guilty to Concealing VRE Bribes (Dec. 24, 2012)

Gov. McDonnell Initiates Review of VRE (Nov. 14, 2012)

VRE Manager Guilty of Bribery (Sept. 27, 2012)

VRE Board Declines Independent Audit (Aug. 18, 2012)

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