Former Fluor Employee Sentenced to 4 Years in Contracts Bribery Case

A former contracts administrator for Irvine-based Fluor Corp. was sentenced Friday to four years in federal prison for accepting $1.4 million in bribes from subcontractors in Saudi Arabia.

Thomas A. Belt, 43, of Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., previously pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. He formerly worked for Fluor Arabia Ltd., a Fluor Corp. subsidiary.

Chief U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges, sitting in Tampa, Fla., also sentenced Belt to three years’ probation. Belt accepted the bribes between November, 1980, and September, 1983, according to a Los Angeles federal grand jury indictment issued in December, 1985.

The money was provided by companies seeking subcontracts for a $5-billion petrochemical manufacturing plant built as a joint venture between Fluor and the Saudi Arabian government.

Because of Belt’s actions, Fluor had to refund $2.7 million to the joint venture corporation building the plant, according to government prosecutors. In addition to the criminal charges, which stemmed from an FBI investigation, Fluor filed a civil suit against Belt in Los Angeles federal court. That suit was settled several months ago, but terms of the settlement were not disclosed.