CALIFORNIA — Mohammad R. Tirmazi, 51, of Upland, CA was sentenced on Tuesday, June 23, to 12 months and one day in federal prison.
Tirmazi accepted almost $300,000 in bribes and omitted the income in his tax returns, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Central Disctric of California.
He accepted the bribes from electrical contractor Tel-Pro Voice & Data, Inc., a vendor that performed low voltage electrical wiring for the county.
United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner, who sentenced Tirmazi, also ordered him to pay $420,010 in restitution to the County of Los Angeles and the Internal Revenue Service.
Tirmazi pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with federal program bribery and subscribing to a false tax return in May 2019.
Tel-Pro’s owner Enrique Contreras paid a total of $299,707 in bribes to Tirmazi, which included “cash, checks and gifts.” The payments happened from late 2014 to 2016.
Tirmazi used to work for the county’s Internal Services Department as a a supervising telecom engineer and then in 2016 as a section manager for the voice, video and application division.
The former public official uncovered violations of the county’s Building and Safety Code or the National Electrical Code during inspection of Tel-Pro’s work. These violations consisted of asbestos removal and poor cable installations.
Tirmazi did not report the violations. According to the release, Tirmazi considered Tel-Pro’s work to be “shoddy,” but he overlooked the violations because of Contreras’ bribes.
Tirmazi would approve “change orders requested by Contreras for, among other things, work that did not occur and materials that were not used on county project” in exchange for the bribes.
In order to hide Contreras’ bribe money, Tirmazi created a company called TEQ Solutions, LLC. Contreras would pay Tirmazi with checks “made payable to TEQ Solutions that were disguised to look like payment for legitimate services rendered.”
With a “sham IRS Form 1099s,” Tirmazi lowered his company’s taxable income. The form would make it appear as though “other individuals had received income from TEQ Solutions for work legitimately performed.”
From 2014 to 2016, Tirmazi failed to report a total of $355,107 in income.
Contreras also pleaded guilty to “federal program bribery and subscribing to a false tax return” in May 2019. His sentencing is scheduled for July 27.
Assistant United States Attorneys Ruth C. Pinkel and Lindsey Greer Dotson of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section are prosecuting this and other cases involving Contreras, according to the release.