Two contractors sentenced to prison for bribing official

Two sentenced for bribing "godfather" at Camp Pendleton

The presidents of two local contracting firms were sentenced Friday to prison terms after pleading guilty to bribing a federal employee to get construction and service contracts worth millions of dollars at Camp Pendleton.

Hugo Hernandez Alonso, 50, of Chula Vista was sentenced to a year in prison and fined almost $127,000. Bayani Yabut Abueg Jr., 51, of San Diego was sentenced to six months in prison and fined $366,140.

The two admitted to bribing Natividad Lara Cervantes, a civilian employee of the Department of Defense who was the supervisor for construction and service contracts in the inspection branch of the department. Cervantes pleaded guilty in January and is set to be sentenced in July.

The bribes stretch back from 2008 to 2011, with Cervantes receiving thousands of dollars in cash and remodeling work on his San Diego condominium, according to documents filed in San Diego federal court, where the cases were decided.

Abueg also demanded kickbacks from subcontractors totaling $539,000, according to documents. To cover the cost of the kickbacks, the value of the work done by the subcontractors was inflated, prosecutors said.

Other subcontractors were required to do discounted work at the homes of Abueg and his relatives as well as Cervantes’ home.

“The extreme home makeover party is over for these defendants, who will no longer be ordering up new kitchens and baths for relatives at taxpayer expense,” said U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy.

Cervantes often called himself the “Godfather of Camp Pendleton,” prosecutors said.

Cervantes admitted receiving $119,000 in bribes from Alonso. Cervantes was arrested by the FBI in 2013 after receiving an envelope with $10,000, a down payment of a promised $40,000 bribe from Abueg, according to court documents.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World