Tow Truck Company Owner Sentenced to 16 Months for Bribing DC Government Employees

Officials want to know who took the bribes

The owner of a local tow truck company was sentenced to 16 months in prison for bribing three D.C. government employees.

The owner of Able Towing Admitted paying tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to employees at the Department of Public Works and the Department of For-Hire Vehicles, which regulates taxis.

Prosecutors identified one of the DPW employees, who pleaded guilty to bribe taking, but they never identified the supervisor at DPW or the taxicab inspector who also took thousands of dollars in bribes despite the fact that prosecutors know who they are, raising concerns with District leaders those two employees could still be working for the city.

“I’m deeply disappointed on many levels,” D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh said. “First of all, as a general proposition, corruption in government is the most corrosive thing that can happen.”

Cheh sent a letter to the head of DPW asking for any information on who the supervisor is and why the D.C. Council was never notified about the federal investigation.

This bribery scandal happened between 2011 and 2013, but the court records were only unsealed last month, which was when D.C. officials and the public learned how widespread the bribery scandal was.

Over the past 20 years, there have been dozens of people indicted for bribing government employees connected to those the departments of public works and for-hire vehicles.

In 1998, 10 inspectors were indicted for taking bribes.

In 2000, two contractors were indicted for paying kickbacks to government employees.

In 2004, three DPW employees were indicted for taking bribes to fix tickets and remove boots.

In 2012, 36 people were accused of offering bribes to the head of the D.C. Taxi Commission and to former Councilman Jim Graham’s chief of staff.

In 2016, a DPW dispatcher was convicted of paying $35,000 in bribes.

No one from either agency of the mayor’s office would answer questions, but the director of DPW issued a statement saying, “While this happened several years ago, I want to be clear that there is zero tolerance for this type of conduct.”

News4 asked to speak to a representative of Able Towing but was told to leave their offices.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has not responded to questions about why prosecutors have not informed District officials who the employees are who took the bribes.

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