contractor sentenced to jail for bribing San Francisco public official and making false statements to federal law enforcement officials | USAO-NDCA

SAN FRANCISCO – Florence Kong was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison and fined $ 95,000 for bribing a public official and making false statements to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, prosecutor said American David L. Anderson and the Federal Government. Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable William H. Orrick, United States District Judge.

“Today’s sentence recognizes the seriousness of Florence Kong’s offenses,” US Attorney Anderson said. “Corrupt officials and those who corrupt them are responsible for their crimes. Our lawsuits at the town hall are not over. The investigation is continuing. “

“The FBI’s ongoing public investigation into corruption continues to uncover a pernicious pattern of criminal activity by greed-motivated San Francisco city contractors who exploit their relationships with public officials,” said FBI Special Agent Craig D. Fair. “In this case, a Bay Area millionaire used his fortune to bribe Mr. Nuru and get his own business contract; leaving honest, hard-working entrepreneurs unable to fight for business and ultimately undermining the whole system of fair competition. “

Kong, 63, of Hayward and formerly of Hillsborough, Calif., Pleaded guilty to bribery and misrepresentation charges on October 8, 2020. As part of the guilty plea, Kong admitted in his plea agreement that he bribed Mohammed Nuru , then director of the San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW), by offering him a gold Rolex watch that she bought for him for $ 36,550 on or around December 19, 2019. Kong bribed Nuru in exchange for past and future actions for the benefit of its companies, in particular as a reward for directing business to its company SFR Recovery Inc. SFR Recovery Inc. is a recycling plant that had a public contract with the city and county of San Francisco to eliminate the construction debris. Kong admitted that she believed Nuru to be one of the most powerful officials in San Francisco who, as director of the DPW, wielded considerable influence over public contracts, permits and DPW activities as well as over d ‘other departments and agencies of the city. Kong also admitted to making false statements on several occasions to FBI agents who interviewed her during the investigation, falsely stating that Nuru was her friend but that they had never discussed matters, that he had never helped her with contracts and that she had never given Nuru any money.

In a sentencing memorandum filed, the government asserted facts providing a broader description of the investigation. The government said the investigation developed information that Kong is the multi-millionaire owner of a group of construction and real estate companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, of which SFR Recovery Inc. is no. one. In 2018, Kong began pressuring Nuru to grant SFR Recovery Inc. a license to accept DPW work and, once granted, repeatedly pressured Nuru to increase fees. DPW’s deal with SFR Recovery Inc. Meanwhile, Kong showered Nuru with gifts, including the $ 36,550 gold Rolex watch Kong gave Nuru in exchange for official actions on Kong’s behalf.

In January 2020, Mohammed Nuru was arrested and charged with fraud and lying to investigators. According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, three months later, on March 20, 2020, FBI agents questioned Kong at her home in Hillsborough, California. Kong repeatedly lied and tried to mislead the officers. The agents, who at the time had substantial evidence through emails and recorded phone calls that Kong was bribing Nuru, warned Kong that providing false statements to the FBI was a crime. Kong stuck with his lies.

A photograph of the gold Rolex watch is attached to the government condemnation memo and printed below:

On June 1, 2020, Kong was indicted in a United States district court by a lawsuit, with one count of misrepresenting a government agency, in violation of 18 USC § 1001 (a) (2). On September 16, 2020, Kong was further indicted via a Prosecution Information of Misrepresentation and an Additional Corruption Charge, in violation of 18 USC § 666 (a) (1). On October 8, 2020, Kong pleaded guilty to the counts contained in the news, namely one count of corruption, in violation of 18 USC § 666 (a) (1), and one count of misrepresenting to a government agency. , in violation of § 18 USC 1001 (a) (2).

This case is part of a larger federal investigation targeting public corruption in the city and county of San Francisco. To date, ten people have been charged, including two senior officials from San Francisco, Mohammed Nuru and Harlan Kelly. Several entrepreneurs and city facilitators have been charged. According to the charges previously brought against Mohammed Nuru and others, Nuru allegedly took hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, including money, meals and work in his vacation home from contractors who won public contracts in San Francisco. According to allegations in the previously filed lawsuit against Harlan Kelly, he also received thousands of dollars in airline tickets, meals, jewelry and travel expenses, as well as repair work on his home.

In addition to the jail term, U.S. District Judge Orrick also sentenced the accused to a three-year supervised release period. Kong is out of custody and will begin serving his prison sentence on August 13, 2021.

The case is being pursued by the Corporate Fraud Strike Force of the US Attorney’s Office. The case is under investigation by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

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