CLEVELAND, Ohio — Federal charges were filed today against the manager of the U.S. Postal Service’s Vehicle Maintenance Facility, accusing him of extorting more than $19,000 in bribes and free vehicle repairs, and of stealing postal service property.
Kevin R. Hood, 46, of Richmond Heights, was charged in a two-count criminal information with extortion and theft of government property.
The owner of a Cleveland company that works with the agency accused Hood of demanding bribes to get work and contracts. In 2011, the man said he paid Hood in cash, and believed he had to keep paying Hood if he wanted to receive work, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.
The manager of the U.S. Postal Service’s Vehicle Maintenance Facility in Cleveland was charged with taking cash bribes in exchange for awarding business and contracts from the Postal Service, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Monica Weyler, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General Eastern Area Field Office.
“Some defendants appear to still have not gotten the message that accepting bribes has no place in Northeast Ohio,” Dettelbach said. “We will continue to work to stamp out public corruption in all its forms.”
“This crime is particularly egregious considering the defendant was promoted to this position because the former manager was convicted on similar charges,” Weyler said.
Hood worked for the Postal Service since 1998 and most recently served as the manager of the Vehicle Maintenance Facility at 1801 Broadway Avenue in Cleveland. In that job, Hood had the ability to award and monitor contracts on behalf of the Postal Service.
The owner of a Cleveland company that has contracts with the Postal Service said Hood approached him for money in order to get work and contracts from the Postal Service. In late 2011, the business owner paid Hood in cash and believed he had to continue to pay Hood to receive work, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.
The owner estimated he paid between $15,000 and $17,000 to Hood to date. He also estimated he provided up to $8,000 in free labor on Hood’s personal vehicles, according to the complaint.
The owner stated Hood told him this was part of the deal in the owner receiving Postal Service work, according to the complaint.
On March 6, the owner paid Hood $4,500 in $100 bills. Hood placed the envelope containing the bills in his left boot. The transaction was monitored and recorded by USPS Office of Inspector General special agents, according to the complaint.
A charge is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.