A former Oakland business consultant was sentenced by a federal judge in San Francisco Tuesday to one year in prison for taking part in two bribery and bid-rigging schemes for government construction projects in 2013. Taj Reid, 48, the son of Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who said:
Reid’s conduct “attacks the very integrity of the government bidding process.”
Reid was convicted in Breyer’s court last year of conspiring with a state veterans’ official to accept bribes and receiving $12,000 in bribes to provide inside information on veterans’ construction projects to an FBI informant posing as a developer.
Following that conviction, Reid pleaded guilty to conspiring with contractors in a second scheme to submit a fraudulent high bid for renovation of a building at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to enable the phony developer to win the contract.
At the sentencing, Reid apologized for his conduct and told the judge:
“I take full responsibility for my actions. I’ve learned my lesson.”
His attorney Darryl Stallworth asked for a sentence of house arrest, citing Reid’s previous service as a teacher and his need to continue mental health treatment. Prosecutors asked for two years and three months in prison.
But Breyer said he was concerned that during the bribery trial in May 2018, Reid argued that he was deceived by the undercover informant, instead of acknowledging that the underlying scheme was a crime.
The judge said:
“He went into a scheme that he knew was dishonest. That’s where he crossed the line. It’s a big bright line.”
Breyer also ordered Reid to serve three years on supervised release after completing his prison term.
Reid’s co-conspirator in the 2013 bribery scheme was his consulting business partner Eric Worthen, who was then the assistant deputy secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.
Worthen pleaded guilty in August 2017 to one count of conspiracy and one count of receiving a bribe and became a prosecution witness against Reid at his trial. He will be sentenced by Breyer in November. The 2017 grand jury indictment containing the charges alleged that as part of the bribery conspiracy, Reid and Worthen agreed with the undercover informant that they would receive 15 percent of the developer’s profits on the veterans’ projects in Ventura and West Los Angeles.