Contractor gets prison term for bribery
The president of Honolulu civil engineering company Lyon Associates Inc. and former Honolulu Zoning Board of Appeals member Frank James Lyon is going to federal prison for paying bribes for government contracts.
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The president of Honolulu civil engineering
company Lyon Associates Inc. and former Honolulu Zoning Board of Appeals member Frank James Lyon is going to federal prison for paying bribes for government contracts.
Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway sentenced Lyon to 2-1/2 years in prison Monday for conspiring to and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to government officials in Pohnpei and Honolulu in exchange for contracts worth millions of dollars.
Mollway is giving Lyon, 53, until July 1 to turn
himself in to begin his prison term.
Lyon’s lawyer Lyle
Hosoda told Mollway that Lyon will soon file for bankruptcy and needs to be in Honolulu to attend the creditors’ meeting. He said the engineering company is not performing any jobs and Lyon has laid off all of his more than 100 employees.
Hosoda had asked
Mollway to sentence Lyon to probation and a fine.
Mollway said she couldn’t do that, even though she knows Lyon will have a hard time serving any amount
of prison time because of serious mental health issues. Mollway rejected the request for a reduced punishment because of the “length of time you and your father and others bribed government officials to get contracts.”
She did not impose a fine and the government did not ask her to require Lyon to forfeit any property.
Lyon told Mollway he has already lost everything.
He pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and to pay a bribe to an agent of an organization that receives federal funds. He admitted that
between 2006 and 2016
he paid two officials of the Federated States of Micronesia $200,000 in bribes
to secure FSM contracts worth $7.8 million.
He also admitted paying at least $240,000 to an employee of a Hawaii state agency to secure a $2.5 million contract. Federal prosecutors have not disclosed the state agency and employee or the other FSM
official involved in Lyon’s bribery conspiracy.
Master Halbert, 44, the
assistant secretary and safety inspector of FSM’s
Division of Civil Aviation, pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to launder the bribe money Lyon paid him. He faces a prison term of up to 20 years at sentencing in July.
Hosoda told Mollway that when Lyon took over the company his father started, he walked into an existing “pay for play” culture.
And even though he knew
it was wrong to continue
the practice, “He didn’t know how to stop, he didn’t know how to get himself out of it.”