Two government contractors who paid tens of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for pricey contracts to a Camp Pendleton official who called himself the “Godfather” will each spend time behind bars for their role in the scheme.
Chula Vista resident Hugo Hernandez Alonso, 50 – president of Hugo Alonso, Inc. (HAI) – was sentenced to a year in prison and a fine of almost $127,000 at a federal hearing in San Diego Friday. His company was sentenced to five years of probation.
San Diego resident Bayani Yabut Abueg, Jr., 51 – president of MBR Associates, Inc. (MBRA) – was sentenced to six months in prison, $105,025 in restitution to the IRS and a fine of $366,140. His company was also sentenced to five years of probation.
A judge ordered both men, who are free on bond, to self-surrender by Jan. 2, 2015.
Both Alonso and Abueg pleaded guilty in January in connection with the bribery case involving U.S. Department of Defense employee Natividad “Nate” Cervantes, also known as the “Godfather of Camp Pendleton.”
According to investigators, Cervantes – who also pleaded guilty in January – used his position at the base to extort bribes from companies seeking to do business with Camp Pendleton.
The FBI said Cervantes began accepting bribes as early as September 2008. In exchange for major contracts, the so-called “Godfather” received thousands of dollars in cash payments from companies and even arranged to have extensive remodeling and construction work done on his personal condominium for free.
According to Alonso’s plea agreement, his bribes resulted in the awarding of least six government construction and service contracts from 2008 to 2011. He paid Cervantes a total of $119,000 in bribes during this time.
In his plea agreement, Cervantes admitted that in 2008 he agreed to accept a $25,000 bribe to assist Alonso and his company in obtaining a $3.5 million government contract to install flooring at Camp Pendleton. Cervantes used the code “the 25 package” to refer to the bribe and a third party delivered the money.
Meanwhile, Alonso, Abueg and their respective companies also admitted to soliciting and accepting kickbacks from subcontractors in relation with those government contracts awarded to their companies. Some of those subcontractors were directly steered to them by Cervantes.
To cover the tracks, the kickbacks were typically given in cash to Abueg’s son or in checks issued to his son or daughter. Other kickbacks included subcontractors performing discounted work at the personal residences of Abueg’s wife, relatives and associates.
Abueg filed a fake federal income tax return for 2010 that failed to report more than $268,000 in illegal kickbacks, investigators said. In 2011 Abueg exchanged a bribe with Cervantes in exchange for a $3 million contract for his company to do work at Camp Pendleton.
For his part, Cervantes was arrested on Mar. 28, 2013, after allegedly accepting $10,000 in cash from a witness who was cooperating with the FBI in the investigation.
Cervantes had hatched a plan to accept a $40,000 in exchange for assistance in obtaining a new $4 million contract at Camp Pendleton but his plan was foiled by his arrest that day at a local business on Miramar Road.
The “Godfather” is scheduled to be sentenced in San Diego on July 24.