Two former Red River Army Depot Officials facing some serious time for alleged bribery, conspiracy scheme

Texarkana

TEXARKANA, Texas. (KTAL/KMSS) – Four men, including two Red River Army Depot (RRAD) officials, have been charged with federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, according to acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.

Jimmy Scarbrough, 69, of Hooks, and Devin McEwin, 41, both former RRAD officials, are charged in a scheme that illegally threw millions in government money to make purchases from vendors Jeffrey Harrison, 43, of Texarkana, and Justin Bishop, 50, of Clarksville, while personally collecting thousands of dollars in bribes, as well as car parts and firearms.

Scarbrough, a former RRAD supervisor, charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and 36 counts of bribery made his initial appearance in court on Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven and waived his right to a preliminary examination.

Also on Tuesday, Harrison and Bishop on Tuesday pleaded guilty to bribery charges in federal court, and McElwin, charged with bribery in the scheme, on Monday filed a Notice of Plea Agreement with the court.

“The Red River Army Depot is a key component of our nation’s defense infrastructure and is the lifeblood of the surrounding community,” Ganjei said.

“Scarbrough, Harrison, Bishop, McEwin, and others exploited the public trust in order to line their own pockets, and undermined the warfighting mission of the Depot in the process.”

According to information presented in court, Scarbrough was the Equipment Mechanic Supervisor at the RRAD in Texarkana, Texas, a position he held from November 2001 until May 2019.

He is alleged to have directed more than $7 million in purchases from RRAD to Harrison and Bishop through the government purchase card program. In order to manipulate the GPC program, which is designed to ensure a competitive bidding process, Scarbrough told the vendors what to bid, including the item, the quantity, and the price.

By collecting fake bids from multiple vendors, Scarbrough was able to direct RRAD purchases to his select vendors, in this case Harrison and Bishop, while maintaining the appearance of a competitive bidding process. Scarbrough also defrauded the United States by falsely certifying that he had received the purchased items, therefore causing the RRAD to pay his select vendors. However, the reality was that Scarborough instructed the vendors not to deliver certain RRAD-purchased items.

“Today’s announcement highlights a successful collaboration among partner agencies as we collectively hold these defendants accountable for allegedly creating a fraudulent and deceptive scheme against the government and the people of the United States. We remain committed to the aggressive pursuit of those who selfishly leverage government programs for their own personal gain,” said Matthew J. DeSarno, Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge.

“These guilty pleas are a direct reflection of the tenacity and teamwork by MPFU special agents and our law enforcement partners,” said Ray Rayos, special Agent-in-Charge of the Southwest Fraud Field Office, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, U.S. Army CID.

“Bribery and other fraud schemes have no place in the government contracting system and those who attempt it will be caught.”

According to the U.S. Attorneys Office, Scarbrough demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from his selected vendors.

Scarbrough accepted bribes in various forms, including receiving at least $116,000 in U.S. Postal Service money orders from Harrison. He also had Harrison and Bishop purchase at least $135,000 in car parts or services for his hot rod collection, which included a red and black 1936 Ford Tudor, an electric green 1932 Ford Coupe, a cherry red 1951 Ford F-1 truck, and more.

Scarbrough received more than $27,000 worth of firearms from Bishop, including rare Colt handguns and Wurfflein dueling pistols. Finally, Scarbrough directed at least $32,000.00 in donations to the Hooks Volunteer Fire Department while he was the Capitan of Operations. In total, Scarbrough received more than $300,000.00 in bribe payments from Harrison and Bishop.

Scarbrough is not the only official at RRAD who accepted bribes. Devin McEwin accepted more than $21,000.00 in bribes from Harrison, including hunting trips, donations directed to the Annona Volunteer Fire Department, and the refurbishment of his 1964 Ford truck.

Under federal statutes, the defendants each face up to 15 years in federal prison. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

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