Former USDA Official Sentenced in Bribery Case

Bribery and corruption concept in business and politics with caucasian businessman and cash money in white envelope

            WASHINGTON – Richard Holman, the former Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination, Physical Security Division, was sentenced today to 180 days of home detention and fined $110,000 for carrying out a multi-year scheme in which he accepted bribes in exchange for ensuring the awarding of USDA contracts.

            The sentencing was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Robert E. Bornstein, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, Criminal Division.

            Holman, 69, of Fairfax, Va. pled guilty in May 2021 to one count of bribery. He was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the Honorable Carl J. Nichols. The judge placed Holman on four years of probation, the first 180 days of which must be served under home detention.

            According to court papers, between July 2013 and December 2015, Eric Schneider and Communications Resources, Inc. (CRI) gave Holman and other USDA officials Corvette wheels, concert tickets, PGA tour tickets, meals, alcohol, strip clubs, parking, concierge medical services, prescription drugs, and other cash tips. In exchange, Holman gave Eric Schneider and CRI preferential treatment in the award of USDA contracts worth over $19 million. As part of the scheme, CRI employees drafted procurement documents in such a way as to favor the award of a multi-million dollar contract to CRI, and USDA officials used the documents in the procurement process as if they prepared them. 

           Schneider, 51, also of Fairfax, Va., pleaded guilty in November 2020 to conspiracy and obstruction for his role in the scheme last year. He is to be sentenced on Oct. 4, 2021.

            The FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Beltsville Field Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigated the case, with assistance from the inspector general’s offices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of State, and the Small Business Administration OIG.  The cae was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

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