Contractor for Division of Highways and Former Division of Highways employee sentenced for their roles in pay-to-play scheme
WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – A contractor for Division of Highways and former Division of Highways employee were sentenced today their roles in a pay-to-play scheme, Acting United States Attorney Betsy Steinfeld Jividen announced.
Mark Rudolph Whitt, 52, of Winfield, West Virginia, was sentenced today to three years probation for wire fraud. Whit was also ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution to the State of West Virginia.
Whitt was the president and owner of Bayliss and Ramey, Inc., which was awarded the statewide signal maintenance contract in 2009. Whitt admitted in December 2016 that he used the contract to funnel construction work to Dennis Corporation. He benefited financially for helping to conceal the illegal flow of funds from the Division of Highways to Dennis Corporation. He pled guilty to one count of “Wire Fraud Conspiracy.”
Debarment proceedings have been initiated against Whitt and his former company to preclude their further involvement in any State contracts. In addition, the investigation resulted in the recovery of over a quarter million dollars illegally obtained by Whitt, which the United States is returning to the State of West Virginia.
“Among the prosecution priorities of cases such as this one are the exposure of corruption by public officials and restitution to victims,” said Acting United States Attorney Betsy C. Jividen. Jividen stated that the United States Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute cases of public corruption against public servants who enrich themselves at the expense of the public they are sworn to serve.
In a related case, James Travis Miller, 40, of Hurricane, West Virginia, was sentenced today to three years probation for laundering money.
Miller worked for the Division of Highways before leaving to work for Dennis Corporation. He admitted in December 2016 that he delivered covert payments to a West Virginia Divisions of Highways employee in exchange for official actions that were done in favor of Dennis Corporation. He pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jarod J. Douglas and Sarah W. Montoro prosecuted the case on behalf of the government. The case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit, which includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the West Virginia Commission on Special Investigations, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the West Virginia State Police.
Citizens with information regarding public corruption in their community are encouraged to call the West Virginia Public Corruption Hotline at 855-WVA-FEDS (855-982-3337), or to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior U.S. District Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr. presided.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Northern District of West Virginia