Prince George’s developer sentenced in corruption scheme -- Gazette.Net


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The president of an Upper Marlboro real estate company has been sentenced in connection with the extortion scheme that revolved around then-County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D).

Patrick Q. Ricker, who was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to one year and a day in prison followed by three years of supervised release, is the latest to be sentenced in the scheme. Ricker, 53, of Bowie pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide gifts and services to public officials in exchange for favorable official action and for tax evasion. He also was ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution.

The sentence follows an investigation by federal prosecutors and the FBI.

Ricker, president of Ricker Brothers, worked with co-conspirators Daniel I. Colton and Karl Granzow to gain a favorable position for their Greenbelt Station mixed-use project, according to Rickerís plea agreement. All three had ownerships in Greenbelt Metropark, along with Day Homes. Greenbelt Station was planned at the Greenbelt Metrorail station, but wasnít built.

From 1997 through Sept. 11, 2008, the trio regularly provided money, trip expenses, meals, drinks, hotel rooms, airline tickets, rounds of golf, procurement of sexual services, employment and monetary and in-kind campaign contributions to state and local officials in exchange for moving their project along.

James Edward Johnson, a former Prince Georgeís County housing director, accepted $58,000 in 2010 from Ricker and Mirza Hussein Baig in exchange for process expediency, according to his plea agreement.

Johnson, who is not related to the former county executive, was sentenced in April to 37 months in prison and two years of supervised release.

Baig, 68, of Burtonsville, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges.

State and local officials also assisted the group in acquiring surplus property and land from the county for development by Day Homes.

The groupís illegal efforts won them nonpublic county information and favorable county council votes for their projects, and ensured a specific developer would obtain a contract to purchase certain buildings from the county, according to court records.

Involved officials and Rickerís group concealed the gifts by failing to disclose them. Ricker also under-reported his taxable income by more than $1.1 million in tax years 2004-07.

In December, Jack B. Johnson was sentenced to 87 months in prison for his role in the extortion scheme, as well as for witness and evidence tampering. His wife, former County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson (D-Dist. 6) of Mitchellville, who concealed nearly $80,000 in her undergarments as FBI agents raided their home, was sentenced to one year in prison for conspiracy to commit witness and evidence tampering.

lrobbins@gazette.net