A Silver Spring, Md., man pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to commit bribery, bribery and mail fraud charges in connection with a scheme to dominate D.C.'s taxi market.
Yitbarek Syume, who ran a taxi business, was accused of paying bribes to obtain cab licenses. He faces up to 45 years in prison and a fine of $1 million but federal sentencing guidelines are 87 to 108 months.
His lawyer, Thomas Abbenante, said his client is sorry for his actions.
Syume was among roughly three dozen people connected with the Washington taxicab industry who were indicted in 2009 on bribery charges. He was accused of paying bribes to the chairman of the D.C. Taxicab Commission to obtain licenses for multi-vehicle cab companies. He was also charged in a separate indictment with paying bribes to get individual cab licenses.
Sixteen others have pleaded guilty to charges in this investigation, including Ted Loza, the former chief of staff of D.C. Councilman Jim Graham.