Judge Hands Former City of Plymouth Official Two-Year Prison Sentence for Wire Fraud
Former Plymouth city official Ronnie Eugene Taggart has been sentenced to 24 months in prison for a bribery and kickback scheme carried out while he was in office.
The decision, by Senior Judge Michael J. Davis in the United States District Court in Minneapolis, comes about six months after Taggart plead guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Taggart, 51, of Golden Valley, served as the facilities supervisor for the City of Plymouth from around October 2012 through November 2016. From 2014 on, Taggart used his role as maintenance manager of all buildings owned and operated by the city to violate the standard legal competitive bidding process on facilities projects – instead soliciting and receiving bribes and kickbacks in exchange for awarding city contracts to certain companies, court filings describe.
In total, he received bribes and kickbacks worth about $58,532, prosecutors said.
“The public trusts that their government officials are honest and will always work in the best interest of the citizens they represent,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jill Sanborn in a statement. “The defendant took advantage of that trust and used it for his own gain.”
The kickbacks Taggart accepted depended on the value of the contracts. They ranged from flat cash to items and services for Taggart’s personal home, according to court documents, including thousands of dollars in kitchen appliances; installation of a new carpet, concrete driveway, garage door, yard irrigation and sprinkler system; and landscaping and electrical work.
To disguise what he was getting from contractors, he’d instruct them to submit a fake quotation to the city—separate and secondary to the real one they’d originally provide—to inflate the amount of their bids on the city submission.
Taggart’s scheme was uncovered in 2016. Following an FBI investigation, he was charged by U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Booker in April. Taggart made his plea May 1.
“I want to commend the work of the investigative team on this matter, as their work on this case shows that the FBI will continue to ensure that the public’s faith in their leaders is protected,” added Sanborn. “We believe today’s sentence will serve as an appropriate punishment for [Taggart’s] crimes.”
After 24 months in prison, Taggart will serve two years of supervised release.