Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A former Navy civilian employee and construction supervisor was sentenced Friday to eight months in custody for false claims related to government contracts and theft.

Joseph Bentley, 55, who was a civilian employee at Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest (NAVFAC) prior to his conviction, supervised crews that did roofing, welding, paving, fencing and other types of construction repair and maintenance work for the Navy and Marine Corps.

As part of his job duties, Bentley was responsible for requesting and authorizing the purchase of materials, supplies and labor from local suppliers and contractors.

One of the individuals Bentley arranged for the Navy to contract with was Eugene Cioe, the owner of Alcem Fencing Co., which operated out of National City until May 2013, and the owner of Cioe Fencing Consultant and Material Sales after May 2013.

As detailed in Cioe’s plea agreement, Cioe and Bentley agreed that Bentley would recommend, authorize or otherwise arrange for the 60-year-old Cioe to receive orders for purchases from the Navy in exchange for Cioe providing Bentley with a financial kickback for Bentley’s assistance in directing business to Cioe.

For example, in June 2011, Bentley corruptly arranged for Alcem to receive more than $7,000 for a job on Naval Base San Diego. After billing the Navy and receiving $7,151 in government funds for the job, Cioe paid Bentley $1,500.

In February 2013, Bentley arranged for Alcem to receive another job with the Navy in exchange for an illegal $5,000 payment.

Both defendants admitted that the conduct continued into the following year, when Cioe presented false claims to the United States Navy for core- drilling work that was in fact performed by NAVFAC employees.

“Anyone, including government contracting officials and contractors, who promotes fraudulent schemes against the United States for personal gain, will be held accountable for their blatant disregard of their duties and responsibilities,” said Special Agent in Charge R. Damon Rowe of IRS Criminal Investigation. “We will continue to aggressively investigate these crimes and seek justice for the victims, the American taxpayer.”

Bentley was ordered to serve six months in custody and two months in a residential re-entry center.

Cioe was sentenced to five years supervised probation, including six months on home detention.

—City News Service

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