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Richmond Public Works employee faces 20 years in prison for crimes committed on the job

Posted at 4:56 PM, May 09, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- A former Richmond Department of Public Works (DPW) employee faces up to 20 years in prison for crimes she committed on the job.

Shaun Lindsey, 53, a Senior Administrative Technician at DPW, pleaded guilty to "using her position to steer governmental contract awards towards herself and her co-conspirators," according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Lindsey, according to investigators, would set up "straw companies" to bid on DPW work, thus circumventing city and state rules.

"Lindsey and her co-conspirators designated and approved DPW work to be performed by these straw companies using their positions at DPW. In some instances, the work to be performed was completely fabricated and no such work was ever needed. In other instances, the work was actually performed by DPW employees, not by contracted vendors. Sometimes, Lindsey and her co-conspirators subcontracted the work out for profit upon winning the DPW work," a DOJ statement read. "Where procurement amounts exceeded $5,000, a DPW approval threshold requiring that work be competitively bid, Lindsey manufactured fictitious straw bids on behalf of competitor companies to engineer Lindsey’s preferred company winning the work. In one instance, Lindsey steered a $28,700 contract award to her boyfriend. Finally, within days of Lindsey’s straw company winning work, she sent checks for a portion of the funds to a senior DPW leader, Lindsey’s co-conspirator."

Other examples shared by the DOJ included:

  • In 2019, DPW sought to have overgrown foliage at Parker Field cleared ahead of a July 4 celebration. Lindsey knew DPW was going to mow the field but created and obtained approval of a requisition request in the DPW purchase order system for a company owned by the wife of a senior DPW leader to mow the entire area 16 times in four days, at a total cost of $4,800.
  • In December 2020, when DPW sought to set up Christmas decorations on Richmond-area bridges, Lindsey generated a requisition request for her own straw company and thereafter sub-contracted the work out at a profit.

"The subcontractor believed they had contracted with the City of Richmond, not with Lindsey’s personal company, and when Lindsey failed to pay the sub-contractor the balance for the work, the sub-contractor sought payment directly from the City of Richmond," the statement continued. "The City of Richmond then had to pay the subcontractor – effectively paying twice for the same work."
DOJ said Lindsey and her co-conspirators, "fraudulently caused DPW to disburse at least $603,701 in funds to companies owned by Lindsey and her co-conspirators, causing $226,767 in loss to DPW."

Bill Dinkin, Lindsey's attorney, said in a statement she takes full responsibility for her role in the conspiracy.

"Ms. Lindsey is a very nice person who, unfortunately, allowed herself to become involved in this scheme. She had the courage to stand up in open court and admit her mistakes and I look forward to her sentencing hearing in August where we can provide a full picture of who Ms. Lindsey is beyond what's recited in the charging documents," Dinkin said.

We do not yet know the names of the others involved in the case, but CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said conspiracies like this take close coordination.

“This is the kind of case they call a paper case for the most part because most of this is on paper. That can make a really strong case for the prosecution a lot of times," Stone said. “It might suggest that the others will be in a similar position because a paper case can be very similar in how it affects all of them. The case is strong verses one; it might be strong verses the others too.”

The guilty plea gives defendants a slight break in the federal system when it comes to sentencing, Stone said; however, that might be negated since Lindsey was in a position of trust with public funds.

"If someone is in a position of trust with the department of Public Works, and they facilitate an offense like this because of that position that makes it more aggravated," Stone said.

Lindsey is scheduled to be sentenced on August 29.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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