Monday, September 03, 2012

Businessman Michael Forlani Pleaded Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy, Other Crimes, for Bribes Paid to Public Officials

Cleveland-area businessman Michael Forlani pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy and other crimes related to bribes Forlani paid to public officials in exchange for help getting contracts for companies he owned or controlled, federal law enforcement officials said today.

Forlani, 55, of Gates Mills, Ohio, faces a recommended sentence of between 70 and 97 months, according to court documents. U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi scheduled sentencing for December 6.

Forlani was indicted last year. He pleaded guilty to counts one through 11, 17, and 18 of his indictment, which includes RICO conspiracy, Hobbs Act violations, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest services wire fraud, and other charges.

He also forfeited $900,000, according to court documents.

Forlani was president and majority owner of Doan Pyramid LLC; a minority owner in Neteam AVI; the sole member of Veterans Development LLC; a member of the board of managers for Veterans Development Domiciliary LLC; the sole member of Wade Park Retail LLC; and the sole owner fo Deep Three Partners LLC, according to court documents.

Between 2002 and 2009, Forlani conspired with Jimmy Dimora, Santina Klimkowksi, John Carroll, and other public officials in exchange for those officials using their positions to benefit Forlani and his associated companies, according to court documents.

Those actions included awarding and executing public business, expediting and influencing official actions pending before public agencies, and other actions, according to court documents.

This included the Cuyahoga County Commissioners voting to award Doan a $941,000 contract to install emergency generators at the Justice Center; requesting and obtaining Dimora’s assistance related to contracts at the Juvenile Justice Center project; getting Dimora’s assistance related to influencing board members on a RTA contract valued at more than $1.1 million; the appointment of a member to the Port Authority Board; getting a county economic development loan; getting no-bid contracts at Maple Height City Schools and construction contracts and subcontracts at MetroHealth Medical Center, among other actions, according to court documents.

In return, Forlani and his associated companies provided things of value to the public officials, such as discounted home improvements; installation of televisions and an outdoor audio/visual system; loge seats for concerts, sporting event tickets; meals and drinks; and other things of value, according to court documents.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Antoinette T. Bacon, Henry DeBaggis and Nancy L. Kelley following an investigation by the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General.

The Cuyahoga County corruption investigation is ongoing.

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