Contractors get prison, fines in Pendleton bribery case

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SAN DIEGO — Two contractors who paid tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to a construction supervisor — who called himself the “Godfather of Camp Pendleton” — in exchange for lucrative contracts at the Marine base were sentenced Friday to time behind bars and ordered to pay six-figure fines.

navy-corruptionHugo Hernandez Alonso, president of Hugo Alonso Inc., was sentenced to a year in federal prison and ordered to pay a fine of nearly $127,000.

Bayani Yabut Abueg Jr., president of MBR Associates Inc., was given six months in custody and fined $366,140.

Both men were ordered to report for custody by Jan. 2.

Alonso pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to conspiracy to bribe public officials and admitted an Anti-Kickback Act violation. Abueg pleaded guilty to the anti-kickback violation and filing a false tax return.

Prosecutors said both men paid tens of thousands of dollars to Natividad “Nate” Cervantes in exchange for contracts at Camp Pendleton. Cervantes also pleaded guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges and is scheduled to be sentenced July 24.

Prosecutors said the case began in 2008 when Cervantes demanded $25,000 to help Alonso and his company obtain a $3.5 million government contract to install flooring at Camp Pendleton.

Abueg said he paid Cervantes a bribe to win a $3 million contract for his company in 2011.

Cervantes was arrested in March 2013, when he met Abueg to accept the first installment of a $40,000 payment, the price for helping Abueg’s company win a $4 million contract at Camp Pendleton.

Prosecutors said Abueg and Cervantes both admitted to receiving kickbacks from sub-contractors seeking to bid on work with their companies at Camp Pendleton.