Two men were sentenced Monday for their part in a bribery scheme involving millions of dollars in taxpayer funds connected to the city’s Public Works Department. in Tulsa.
Max Elliot Wolf, age 57, of Owasso, president of Horizon Construction Company, Inc., was sentenced to 57 months. Wolf earlier paid restitution in the amount of $939,078.56, according to acting United States Attorney Thomas Scott Woodward.
Wolf plead guilty on September 10 to Procurement Fraud Bribery. He admitted that from mid-2005 until June 2008, he made numerous bribery payments to former Tulsa Public Works Field Engineering Manager Albert Martinez with the intent to influence and reward Martinez for certifying fraudulent inflated invoices submitted by Horizon.
Also, Harlan Eugene Yocham, age 49, of Yocham Enterprises, Sapulpa, was sentenced to five months to be followed by five months of home detention, according to Woodward. Yocham also paid restitution of $10,000. He was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.
Yocham had earlier plead guilty on September 8 to Procurement Fraud Bribery. He admitted that he paid a $7,000 bribe to Martinez for his approval of a fraudulent and inflated invoice involving a street improvement contract, Woodward said.
The scandal involving the Tulsa Public Works Department was made public on Jan. 22 when federal indictments were unsealed. At that time, it was announced that two former managers and four area businessmen were charged by a grand jury for bribery and fraud.
“Hundreds of hard-working public employees and private contractors work together every day to maintain and improve the operation of the City of Tulsa," Woodward said after Monday’s sentencing. "Rarely do we see such an obvious disregard for the public trust as these defendants have shown. However, when public corruption is exposed, we will do our best to ensure that the perpetrators are punished accordingly and the interests of the citizens are upheld.”