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West Point alum, ex-Army contractor gets 30 months for Aberdeen Proving Ground bribery scheme

By THE AEGIS Published: April 11, 2019

BEL AIR, Md. (Tribune News Service) — An Ohio man was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for his role in a bribery scheme that involved contracts at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Matthew Barrow, 45, of Toledo, Ohio was sentenced Wednesday by Judge George L. Russell III in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, according to the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office. His sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release.

Barrow’s co-defendents, John Kays, 45, a Pinehurst, North Carolina resident living in Bel Air at the time of the scheme, and his wife Danielle Kays, 44, are currently serving federal prison sentences of six years and 18 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the scheme. The court previously ordered the defendants forfeit more than $1.48 million, as well as vehicles and a boat.

Barrow and the Kays graduated together from the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 2008, John and Danielle Kays held leadership positions as civilian employees in the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, representing the Army in multi-year contracts, according to court documents.

Barrow worked for a glass manufacturer in Ohio, and formed a company called MJ-6, to which John Kays admitted he steered CECOM subcontracts in exchange for money, according to the statement of facts.

According to the plea agreements, from August 2008 to June 2014, John Kays agreed to take official actions favorable to Barrow and MJ-6 in return for Barrow paying the Kays a total of approximately $800,000. Danielle Kays also admitted using her official position to benefit Barrow and MJ-6 from 2011 to 2014.

Specifically, according to prosecutors, the Kays used their official positions to add MJ-6 as a subcontractor acceptable to the Army, steer potential employees for government contractors to work for MJ-6, approve MJ-6 employees to work on various task orders and approve the pay rates, status reports and travel reimbursements for MJ-6 employees. Total contracts steered to MJ-6 by the Kays exceeded $21 million.

To conceal his relationship with the Kays, Barrow caused the glass company he worked for to enter into contracts and make payments to Transportation Logistics Services LLC, a company incorporated by John Kays, until the glass company fired Barrow, according to court documents.

Barrow then made payments to the Kays in cash, which Barrow withdrew from his personal accounts and from MJ-6 accounts.

To conceal the scheme, John and Danielle Kays made false statements on the government ethics forms that they were required to file by failing to disclose the cash payments received from Barrow, according to the statement of facts.

The Kays used the cash for their personal benefit, including payments for home renovations, two new vehicles, a powerboat, jewelry, a pool party at their country club and credit card bills, prosecutors said.

Barrow later agreed to pay the Kays the proceeds of the scheme from MJ-6 disguised as employment salary, prosecutors said.

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